Civil Week 'shakes up the curriculum'
Civil engineering students tested their wits as public speakers and professional consultants during the recent Civil Week, an annual five-day immersion program in engineering design and professional skills development.
“It’s a great way to shake up the curriculum,” says Nicholas Fleming, a third-year civil engineering student. “The program gives you hands-on experience and helps develop the professional, ‘soft’ skills that go so far in an engineering career.”
This year, students were asked to conduct a study of the Wolfe Island ferry to determine whether the Kingston and Wolfe Island communities need alternative transportation options, such as a second ferry or a bridge. Working in teams, students researched the current situation, combed through Ministry of Transportation reports, and rode the ferry themselves, talking with islanders, Kingston residents and tourists. At the end of the week, they presented a report with a sustainable transportation plan for the island to classmates and a community panel.
The project required students to look at the technical side of building a transportation plan while at the same time considering the “human impact of engineering.” Students found the course useful for developing and demonstrating their own strengths within a group, and a great way to make friends as the new term begins.
“Civil Week sets the dynamic for us as a class,” says Miranda Lee, also a third-year civil engineering student. “It’s a social bonding experience. We get to know each other, make a lot of friends and that helps us throughout the year.”
Civil Week runs every fall term for students in their second, third and fourth years of the civil engineering program. This year’s course also included a structural health investigation of a Kingston bridge, and a landslide investigation in Ottawa. PhD student Ryley Beddoe and civil engineering professor Kent Novakowski facilitated the week’s events.