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Canada has an opportunity to take the lead just as we have in so many other issues of equality and fairness. The time for excuses has long elapsed. Engineers, and schools in particular, need to be prepared to take a long hard look inwards to the often unconscious prejudices and biases that have remained untouched for too long.
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Engineers design, build and maintain. So says the orthodoxy. This traditional definition consigns engineers to passively executing the visions of others. This is an increasingly inadequate and inaccurate description. First of all it fails to acknowledge the influential role played by engineers in the public realm.
One part of the solution is to begin engineering degrees with a blast of passion. Students should spend their first semester working on passion projects with their classmates to get a sense of why they want to be engineers and what problems they want to solve with the technical knowledge they will learn.