Faculty & Staff



Cities in Canada and around the world need professionals who can work on complex and evolving challenges — from water scarcity and a lack of affordable housing to mobility issues, biodiversity loss and much more. The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Urban Systems program gives students the practical knowledge to address these 21st-century challenges. Our graduates are job-ready for work in both the public and private sectors, bringing innovative thinking to enable urban centres to thrive as they grow.

I believe that today’s engineers are called on to engage with others in finding place-based, sustainable solutions to large, complex and ill-structured problems. Sustainability imperatives demand new ways of teaching and learning engineering, as well as a broader scope of engineering practice. Since 2001, it has been my privilege to develop expertise in sustainability curricula focusing on environmental stewardship for undergraduate and graduate engineering programs at the University of British Columbia.

Deep technical knowledge is needed to address our sustainability issues in cities. And equally critical are professional breadth and leadership. More than ever, urban professionals need collaborative and strategic thinking skills, and through our MEL program’s business and leadership courses we help our students develop their ability to effectively lead teams and communicate the urgent need for sustainability action.

Our program focuses on integrated learning experiences: students work on real-world projects to apply the urban systems knowledge they build in the classroom. This opportunity to work on projects with practitioners enables students to learn the application of best practices while enhancing their teamwork and leadership skills. In short, the MEL in Urban Systems embodies a world-class educational experience aimed at training engineers and others in finding practical approaches to addressing our most complex challenges in the urban environment.


Before receiving a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of British Columbia for research on ink detachment mechanisms during paper recycling, Dr. Susan Nesbit obtained a B.A. in history and a B.A.Sc. in chemical engineering, and then worked as a research engineer studying novel methods of chlorine dioxide production for the pulp and paper industry. She is a leader in sustainability education and has designed several courses to introduce students to sustainability concepts via community service learning in an engineering context. Dr. Nesbit’s teaching achievements have been cited by university educators across North America for their excellence.