‘I pass the test,’ she said. ‘I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.’ (The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VII)
I too have passed a test, managing engineering admissions for the past decade through a period of rapid growth and various changes. And it is now time for me to diminish and remain a professor, finishing my term as Director of Admissions and returning to a focus on teaching and research in Chemical Engineering. As of September 1 a new Director takes over, and he will likely continue our recent tradition of running an admissions blog with up to date information and insights. Since my blog URL is rather eponymous, there will be a new site and I’ll provide an introduction and link to it when available in the near future.
I plan to continue this blog with things related to engineering teaching, careers, research, and other topics of interest to me. I will also post things about admissions in a more generic sense, looking at trends across Canada, the U.S. and suggestions and insights for applicants considering an engineering program at any university. However, I won’t be answering questions or posting details about current Waterloo admissions news, since I will no longer be directly connected to it.
Reflecting on what has happened during my time as Director of Admissions, Engineering has seen applications grow from about 6,300 to just under 13,000. We’ve added two new programs (Biomedical and Architectural Engineering), expanded the Mechatronics program to two streams, implemented an optional video interview system, hired more staff to handle the increased volumes, and seen dramatic growth in applications from outside Canada, including the U.S. and India. The time has flown by, and I’ve had fun and satisfaction working with lots of different people, including faculty and staff, applicants, current students, alumni, parents, guidance counselors, and secondary school teachers. There have been plenty of behind the scenes challenges along the way, but our talented Associate Directors and hard-working admissions team has always helped me to hit the annual admissions targets with no major surprises or disasters, and for this I’m very thankful!
For faculty members, these administrative positions are usually something we do out of interest and a desire to help out with the operations of the university. But as they say in business, my “core mission” is in teaching and research. So, having done what I can to continuously improve engineering admissions practices it’s time to step back and let someone with a fresh outlook carry on.
So now I can focus on other things and make some progress on teaching and research projects. These projects include some course updating and redevelopment, and new research studies with industrial partners on air pollution control, water testing, and antimicrobial materials. Unlike Galadriel however, I have no plans to go into the West.