New Marshall Bauder Chairs aim to enhance the UBC Engineering learning experience

Dr. Christoph Sielmann and Dr. Alon Eisenstein
Dr. Christoph Sielmann and Dr. Alon Eisenstein, assistant professors of teaching in the UBC Faculty of Applied Science, have been named the 2023 recipients of the Marshall Bauder Chairs in Experiential Learning and Leadership.

Dr. Christoph Sielmann and Dr. Alon Eisenstein, assistant professors of teaching in the UBC Faculty of Applied Science, have been named the 2023 recipients of the Marshall Bauder Chairs in Experiential Learning and Leadership.

Over the next three years, they will create and implement “novel ideas to provide a superior digital/experiential learning experience for students” across both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses. 

“Teaching engineering means going beyond the dissemination of technical information,” said Sielmann, who teaches within the department of mechanical engineering at UBC Vancouver. “It includes awakening students to their greater responsibility to the world, a way of life that demands excellence and temperance in how they apply their knowledge.”  

Sielmann intends on carefully examining the benefits and liabilities of extracurricular engineering design teamwork for students and working out opportunities to incorporate design team activities in for-credit design courses. He also wants to develop a framework for experiential learning equity in multi-campus education which will include freely available digital tools for educators to assess relevant site- and course-specific contexts, needs and constraints.  

Eisenstein’s goals include designing and delivering targeted professional development workshops for graduate students on a topic relating to their engineering education. Additionally, he aims to understand the types of jobs and industries that UBC Okanagan School of Engineering students transition into upon graduating, in order to design relevant curriculum and co-curricular development activities to better prepare them for the workforce.  

He also intends on introducing the Community Climate Resiliency Challenge where interdisciplinary teams of students create solutions for local community partners to support their efforts to adapt to climate change.  

“If we are to change the course of humanity’s trajectory, humans must change, enabled by technology,” said Eisenstein, who has taught courses in engineering and society, engineering leadership, and technology entrepreneurship at the School of Engineering. “Introducing new technical solutions without a change in habits will produce little to no improvement. Critical pedagogy requires me, as an educator, to challenge my students to confront reality as it is, not as they imagine it to be.”

Inaugurated in 2020, the Marshall Bauder Chairs provide a mandate and funding for faculty members who want to pursue projects that have a dedicated focus on experiential learning. Having a chair on each campus connects the two UBC campuses and builds cross-campus community within UBC Applied Science.

The Marshall Bauder Chairs are an important part of UBC Applied Science’s strategic plan and mission to shape the leaders and professions that shape the world.

As Sielmann said, “It is our responsibility as engineering educators to innovate with content and pedagogy to inspire diverse students inside and outside the classroom to grow into socially conscious, technically innovative engineers of tomorrow.” 

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