With over 500 courses at undergraduate and graduate levels and more than 40 degree programs allowing students to focus on sustainability and the environment, UBC is widely known as a sustainable campus.
The two most recent Senate meetings have seen developments in this area. Eight new Master's of Engineering programs, focused on leadership, sustainability and industry and a Master of Health Leadership and Policy in Seniors Care have all been approved for January 2016.
Elizabeth Croft, professor and associate dean of education and professional development is focused on the training of industry professionals in the stream of sustainability.
“It’s very important for all engineering professionals now to be designing and building in a sustainable matter,” said Croft. “The easy way to look at that is ‘People, Place and Profit,’ so it’s the social impact, it’s the environmental impact, as well as the economic impact of anything that we go forward with in the society.”
Engineering professor Tamara Etmannski is aware of the increasing demand for sustainability-based courses.
“It’s almost de facto that they're all sustainability related, because that’s the way things are going,” she said. “Our mandate was to create programs that are relevant, that are needed and sought after by industries today.”
With more and more competition in the job market, professional education is becoming a valued attribute. UBC is focusing on a combination of business leadership and technical industry, which Croft believes is a distinctive tool.
“I did a fairly extensive survey of what was available to professionals out in the educational market place," Croft said. “There are many Engineering management programs available, but there aren’t these sort of unique pieces where you can take that leadership foundation and combine it with a sustainable technical speciality across an industry value chain.”
The eight new courses have been vetted and examined by industry professionals, as the aim is to keep the department as relevant as possible.
“Instead of going back and doing a very generic MBA, where they’re learning about, perhaps, accounting and finance in a very generic sense, they can choose to do a professional masters degree in this form,” said Etmannski. “They need a broad understanding of the whole industry, the whole value chain of the industry.”
Some of the new master's programs are developing from current courses offered at UBC, so the department is confident that they will attract substantial numbers of students.
“I hope that the programs will bring an added boost to the graduate education that we have at UBC,” said Croft. “It will add a great deal to our university community to have people that have the industry background participate with our other students and really add a different dimension to our student body."