The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Urban Systems brings together three traditionally distinct academic disciplines – engineering, urban planning and business – to meet the needs of professionals working in the urban systems sector. When we were developing this program, we spoke with municipal and regional governments, utility companies and consulting firms. These employers identified the need for employees with a broad perspective who combine technical skills with the ability to understand complex issues from multiple points of view.
The MEL curriculum will allow graduates to develop this much-needed multidisciplinary perspective as well as the management and leadership skills so essential to the success of large infrastructure projects. Those with engineering backgrounds will learn more about planning issues, and those with planning backgrounds will learn more about the engineering side. All students will deepen their skills as managers and leaders, equipping them to coordinate and manage complex projects.
I am a co-director of the program with research and teaching interests in construction management and the sustainability of infrastructure projects. I helped develop some of the project management leadership and sustainability courses that form the platform of the MEL program. Urban infrastructure projects bring together teams of people from hundreds of different companies. These complex environments require leaders with strong coordination and management skills, and the leadership courses will help graduates of the MEL in Urban Systems program acquire the knowledge of organizational issues and management processes needed to take on these roles.
Dr. Thomas Froese joined the Department of Civil Engineering in 1992 after receiving BASc and MASc degrees from the University of British Columbia (1986 and 1988 respectively) and a PhD from Stanford University (1992). Dr. Froese’s primary research goal is to develop a new generation of information technology for collaboration and project management in the architecture, engineering and construction industry. He has successfully developed approaches to formalize the management of information systems at the project level, and has also led efforts to produce integrated computer software for construction management and establish international data standards for the construction industry. Dr. Froese has led innovative efforts to improve teaching practices in engineering education, including introducing a full “team-based learning” format to core undergraduate courses and integrating innovative teaching technologies into engineering courses.