Learning from the giants in water resources and coastal engineering in Europe
Seven faculty members of SSU; six civil engineers and the SSU international affairs director) travelled to Europe to learn from the giants in Water Resources and Coastal Engineering. Specifically SSU personnel attended one to two-day short courses at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven) of Leuven, Belgium, Delft University of Technology (TUDelft) of Delft, The Netherlands, Technical University of Denmark (DTU) at Lyngby, Denmark, and the Lund University in Lund, Sweden. The learning-travel is part of the CHED-IDIG (Institutional Development and Innovation Grant) funded project entitled Enhancing Civil Engineering major in Water Resources and Coastal Engineering (WRCE). The IDIG project has three major objectives; one of which is for SSU to design a CE curriculum major in WRCE.
The main objective of the learning-travel was to (1) improve/enhance the appreciation of the CE faculty the field of WRCE; (2) compare water resources and coastal engineering curriculum of the selected European universities and identify appropriate courses for the proposed CE-WRCE curriculum; (3) benchmark WRCE facilities for instruction, research and community engagements (technology transfer), and finally to (4) propose a plan of action towards preparing SSU-CE major in WRCE.
There were so many differences on the way European schools are operated; first, most of their bachelor’s degrees are completed in 3 years with very minimal non-major courses to none. It was also interesting to note that almost all of the bachelors’ graduates’ proceeds to masters’ level. Their baccalaureate degrees are more of a preparation to a more-specific master’s degree. In TUDelft for example, students in the baccalaureate program has a constant schedule in an industry floor. In KUL for example, students takes several problem-solving courses. In DTU, they have created a bachelor of engineering program (3.5 years, 0.5 years of which is an industry immersion) to address the industry need. In Lund University, they have a “melting pot” where faculty members and graduate students gather twice every day for a common coffee break. Purpose of which is to relax and discuss anything with other colleagues.
The travel to Europe was so overwhelmingly fruitful according to the Director of External Affairs Elmer Irene. Engr. April Quebada, shared, that their curriculum is the great example of an outcome-based education. Engr. Wellah Yangzon, the IDS director was amazed of their “colossal laboratories” dwarfing those visited in the Philippines. Dr. Felisa Gomba was very interested in linking with the experts she has meet and presented some of her projects to them hoping she can tap them in the project implementation. Engr. Ladyann Fabillar expressed that HEIs in the Philippines is still far in so many aspect. All however are hoping that with enough support, Philippine HEIs will narrow the gap between what is in Europe (and other parts of the world).
The objectives of the travel were overwhelmingly met. Also, the travel-participants was in unison with the idea that key officials/school managers engaged in a similar activity to better grasp what is internationally important. There are many practices and systems that the Philippines are more focused; many of those are actually hindering many SUCs from improving fast. Overall, funding issues