New Faculty name highlights engineering focus


Above: Gillian Wu and Bob Prince

York is adaptable and eager for change when change makes sense. The Faculty of Pure & Applied Science (FPAS) proved this when it embraced the Engineering Program (computer, geomatics and space engineering, and engineering physics) in the fall of 2001. And now, with the success of the Engineering Program, FPAS is ready for another change – a brand new name.

As of June 21, FPAS is the Faculty of Science & Engineering. Already, members of the York community have seen various names evolve to include the word engineering. The “green” building is now named Computer Science & Engineering, reflecting the new name of the former Department of Computer Science; the Petrie Science Building has been renamed the Petrie Science & Engineering Building; the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Science is now known as Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering; and the former Steacie Science Library is now called the Steacie Science & Engineering Library.

These name modifications are a testament to how quickly the engineering program has become a full part of York. “The Faculty name change reflects what we now do,” said Gillian Wu, dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering. She gave credit to University Professor and former dean Bob Prince for “engineering” the new program at York.

“The time is right for this,” said Wu, “now that engineering has become an entity with about 200 students. More are expected and our first engineering class is ready to graduate next year. We have hired nine professors and two technicians for the program, labs have been renovated solely for engineering courses, and summer survey camps are a huge success.

“Our first accreditation visit is scheduled for January 2005. Rather than await this formal review, we felt it was strategically better to implement the name change prior to the visit. The new name reflects the Faculty’s purpose in all circumstances: undergraduate and graduate education, research and community outreach,” said Wu.

Wu and Prince agreed that the revised name will also lead to more research funding, help in the recruitment of students and enhance the Faculty’s standing within the engineering profession.

This isn’t the first time the Faculty has changed its title. Prince pointed out that, in 1989, York’s Faculty of Science sought permission to become the Faculty of Pure & Applied Science as a result of the Task Force Report on Applied Science and Technology in that year.

“The Faculty was looking ahead at the development of York. It was noted even then that it wanted to have an accreditated engineering school,” said Prince, “but it took until 1999 before the ball really got rolling on the issue, when the Academic & Policy Planning Committee asked me [dean of FPAS at the time] to develop a prospectus for engineering at the University…. We were fortunate in our first hirings, bringing in people of exceptional quality.”

For more information on York’s Engineering Program, click here.