Faculty of Engineering - Dean's Message
WELCOME MESSAGE TO FRESHERS
To begin, I wish to congratulate you upon securing a seat at the University of Mauritius. Today, you are here as a result of your hard work and dedication and it is the first step of many of you along your career-path. That path will be determined not only by the power of your logic and intellect but equally by your aspiration and determination.
This campus will over the coming academic years be witness to your learning and achievements. Learning never stops and it gets better with effort and application, something that I hope this cohort will uphold.
How to sustain learning over the next 3-4 years? May I suggest that you become totally paranoid about your current state of learning. Am I learning today, or am I faking it? Or worse am I falling behind?
Learning at University is different from any previous structured formal education you have previously encountered. The transition from college to University is bumpy to say the least for many. Learning is your responsibility at University. Taking effective notes during lectures, keeping track of due dates and scheduling plenty of time for study outside of class (two to three hours of study time for every hour of class) are essential skills that you will have to master.
As you join the Faculty of Engineering, a little bit of history is important. The Faculty was established in 1968 and its aim is to provide a world class education in Engineering, Sustainable Product Design and Computer. The Faculty was originally called the School of Industrial Technology. During its first years, it focused on running courses at certificate and diploma levels. The Faculty evolved at a reasonable pace with the first engineering undergraduate courses offered in 1978, the first taught MSc courses in 1997 and the first PhD awarded in 1984. The Faculty of Engineering is composed presently of six Departments and offers undergraduate BEng (Hons) programmes which satisfy the academic requirements of the Council of Registered Professional Engineers. The Faculty also offers three-year BSc (Hons) programmes in the various fields of IT, ICT, and Sustainable Product Design. Two-year part-time MSc programmes in various fields are also offered mainly for working professionals.
The generation joining the Faculty today was born with the end of a millennium and brought up in a new millennium. You have been called the "millenials, GÃ©nÃ©ration Y, NetGen, MHBG (Mutants Hybrides BionumÃ©riques GÃ©olocalisÃ©s) or the IKWIWAIWIN (I Know What I Want And I Want It Now) tribe. You are characterized by two traits unknown to previous generations:
- The Digital Culture from internet to smart-phones through e-business, FB (facebook) and e-music.
- The Global Climate Change impact which you are the first generation to suffer from and the last and only generation in a position to do something about it, that is, adapt and mitigate its impacts.
Youâ€™ll be a generation facing unprecedented challenges. Our duty is to prepare you for a world which is not ours, but yours. The above traits require that timeless values that have been the bedrock of human civilization need to be "re-engineered". Altruism, solidarity, generosity, empathy... love in the true sense; unselfish dedication to others, need to be crucial part of your education. Education cannot be just a means to something (job, position, status), it has to be about working towards a shared vision, for the common good.
This is possible through initiatives like crowd-funding, co-ownership, peer-to-peer sharing, open source access, "Uber"-type services which not only allow "personalized" attention to each and every one but also lead to optimization of scarce resources and their access to those in need.
Energy, information, production, consumption, health, environment, land, transport, leisure, economy and people are all connected. Through virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence, digital ubiquity and emergence of prosumers i.e. producers and consumers being one and same (for example for use renewable energy through smart grids.
This is where the new generation will have to fit in, or as it is said LIVE, WORK and PLAY. But is that enough? To give a true meaning to life, more is needed surely. A good knowledge of history, ethics, morals, philosophy and spirituality will be essential. This brings us to the need of embracing a trans-disciplinary approach. All students are NOW embarking on teaching and learning within a given discipline, be it mechanical engineering, computer science or ocean studies. But the world is not fragmented. Even interdisciplinary approaches like learning Maths in Engineering will not be sufficient tomorrow. Trans-disciplinarity is about having a real systemic, integrated, holistic approach in looking at the interdependence of different disciplines. Engineering is the perfect place to start such an adventure in the pursuit of scientific, technological, economic, environmental and ethic-related objectives.
This has the potential to lead to real empowerment. Give yourself the power by using your brain, your body and your heart together. It can happen financially in terms of start-ups...create your own business based on a very specific idea or service which is your own, but which can be of service to others. Build your own micro-enterprise, develop customized products or services for niche markets, make the most of new areas of investment like the energy-net (comparable to the internet which is for data), health care, new forms of entertainment, consulting, etc.
By 2030 it is estimated that more than 40 million people in the USA will work for themselves. This is not about freelance sales or tele-work, it is about managing your own tiny business (does not mean it is not lucrative) in the most intelligent way whilst also enjoying what you do. It will involve ICT and may also help address climate change as well as so many other laudable goals.
The boss who is now paid to ensure that you work will disappear and the pyramidal power structure will crumble. You work because you are deadly motivated and you see the difference you make not just to yourself, but to others as well. It is the age of "soft transversal power" as called by some today. The peer-to-peer vision of the emerging digital economy is probably just a beginning.
It should be the end of "indiscipline" hopefully, the scourge of today's world.
So I wish you all well and may your stay at the University be fruitful, successful and most memorable. Thank you all.
Associate Professor (Dr) Satyadev Rosunee
Dean of Faculty