Among the many different facets of the School of Engineering life highlighted in this edition of In Focus, we report on the work of our dynamic Center for Industry Engagement & Internship (IEI). The Center is the latest addition to propel forward the all-round learning experience we provide for our students. The School has long emphasized our student exchanges, which help to instill confidence and independence, build communication skills and develop awareness of different perspectives. With IEI, we hope to foster greater awareness of the opportunities and requirements of today’s working world, in terms of attitude as well as skills.
This is not a one-way street as companies have the chance to get to know our students ahead of graduation, and to learn more about their next generation of employees. We are also keen to introduce students to the wider career pathways they can now take as engineering graduates in emerging areas such as financial logistics, biomedical industries and environmental organizations.
By building such connections early, the School sees both sides can benefit by learning more about the other, helping to smooth the transition between university and work.
Another important step forward to widen the reach of our students and enhance our world-class research capabilities is the exciting addition of Aerospace Engineering to our portfolio of disciplines.
Hong Kong is already a top international aviation hub, with major aircraft maintenance facilities as well as a globally renowned airport for passenger and air cargo services. In addition, there is increasing scope in the Pearl River Delta. Such demand will create many openings for engineers and management trainees, and students are already showing enthusiasm for the field as we have seen from our recently launched Minor in Aeronautical Engineering.
The move into Aerospace Engineering is a major initiative to be rolled out in the next few years. This Fall, the Department of Mechanical Engineering is being renamed the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. We will be recruiting an eminent Named Chair Professor and a team of faculty, installing new facilities, and developing postgraduate and undergraduate programs. Our intention is to focus on niche hi-tech areas utilizing our expertise across the School’s departments. This will enable us to offer a non-traditional approach that should put our programs among the world’s best. It will also offer fascinating new input for interdisciplinary discovery.
Both IEI and the introduction of Aerospace Engineering are examples of how the School is continuously taking enterprising steps to ensure the relevance of our education and research to the region’s economic development and the wider society. We live in times where the ability to rapidly respond to change and flexibility are essential for businesses, industries and organizations, including education institutions. At the School of Engineering, we remain not only alert to the need for such capabilities. We actively engage them.
Prof Khaled Ben Letaief
Dean of Engineering