It has been more than half a year since my last message in the early days of the pandemic. The virus has touched all facets of our daily lives as we adapt to counter the changing circumstances. Pre-pandemic times may never be back and a new normal may be here.
Pandemic or not, life goes on, and the Faculty remains steadfast in its mission to generate knowledge and develop ethical and socially responsible engineers who contribute to the betterment of society. Since March, our students and professors have pivoted to remote education. It takes a Herculean effort to go from the traditional delivery of engineering education to remote teaching. We quickly formed the Engineering Online Teaching Advisory Group (OTAG) to work closely with the university’s Centre for Teaching and Learning to address remote teaching pedagogies.
As a community-engaged Faculty, we started on a rapid response to fight against the pandemic. In this issue of Windsor Engineering (WE), you’ll learn how our faculty, students and industrial partners came together to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care workers, innovate low-cost ventilator designs, improve COVID-19 testing methods and more. While this issue is mainly devoted to pandemic-related news, the Faculty is making great strides in many other areas such as advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI); improving students’ experience and mental health support and achieving greater prominence in research.
In response to the growing needs of the Faculty amid the COVID-19 crisis, we established the UWindsor Engineering COVID-19 Action Fund. The flexibility of this fund allows us to direct funds where they are needed most to respond to the crisis, including time-critical research; maximizing the curriculum and resources for distance learning; and students who are experiencing hardships.
Our students are and will continue to face enormous COVID-related financial challenges for the foreseeable future. They are now dealing with the uncertainty of employment and internships, a reduction or loss of part-time work, or family related financial hardships. They can use the support of the Faculty’s alumni, friends and partners to get through this trying phase in their life and education. I ask you to open your hearts and consider supporting our students. You can learn more about our Action Fund on the back cover of this magazine.
With compassion, resilience and teamwork, we have navigated through the monumental chaos and crisis thus far, and with clouds of the Coronavirus lingering around, I expect that the road ahead will remain bumpy at best. Through empathy and teamwork, we can overcome the hurdles ahead and they too shall pass. I am not sure who exactly coined the quote “success has many parents,” but it takes leadership and contributions from everyone — faculty, students, staff, alumni, industrial/government partners, and our friends in the community — to successfully navigate through these times.
The current crisis has taught us how to have more compassion for one another; how to look after the frail and vulnerable amongst us; how to work together towards a common objective; how to be more understanding and selfless; how to care for our planet and environment; and how to love one another.
Now more than ever we need to stay connected even though we are separated by distance. I urge you to remain engaged and connected to the Faculty. And please, keep well and stay safe.
Dr. Mehrdad Saif, PEng, FCAE, FIET
Dean, Faculty of Engineering
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering