2014 Learning Forums
Held at four Ontario post-secondary institutions – University of Waterloo, Cambrian College, University of Ottawa as well as Dalhousie University – the Forums attracted a record attendance of over 150 engineering professors and 32 participants from industry, government, academia and health and safety associations. The goal? Promote more awareness of health and safety management and ensure it is included in the curricula. “It’s our belief that engineering and business schools graduate most of our corporate leaders,” said Tony Pasteris, President and CEO, Minerva Canada. “We seek to engage those future leaders to make health and safety part of their core value leaving university”.
“We have a real interest in seeing that our students are getting excellent training and exposure to best practices in health and safety,” said Wayne Parker, Associate Dean of Engineering, University of Waterloo. The Learning Forum in April was co-hosted by Parker colleagues with Marc Aucoin, Academic Director for Professional Development, and Tom Dean, Director – Technical Operations. “The issue of safety in the workplace is very important for students who go out on co op…and safety is also an increasingly important component in accreditation.”
The four Forums included these objectives
- To discuss some of the new Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) attribute requirements and introduce university and college engineering professors to key safety, health and environmental (SHE) management concepts;
- To identify the need for SHE management education and to better understand what professors need;
- To introduce professors to new Minerva teaching modules and obtain input;
- To provide valuable teaching resources and create professor networks to share best practices.
2014 Forum Agendas
2013 Learning Forums
The how to’s of putting health and safety in the forefront of the minds of university professors and students was once again supported by Minerva Canada through its annual Learning Forums, sponsored by a number of corporations and organizations. New was the program’s reach – some 150 engineering professors attended one-day forums held at Laurentian University, Western University, Ryerson University and the University of Alberta. Each left with a stronger grasp of the importance of teaching health and safety management concepts to their students and with an introduction to the many valuable resources from Minerva to help them integrate core principles into engineering curricula.
Key themes, presented by industry, government and academia, ranged from instilling a culture of safety in and out of the workplace, to risk management in engineering process design, to human factors and ergonomics. Panel discussions were also held on integrating core principles into curricula.
Minerva Canada’s Tony Pasteris and Graeme Norval of the University of Toronto spoke about the Teaching Modules for engineering students initiative at all four Forums. The Forums also saw considerable participation and presentations from member firms of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC). “We are grateful to Bob Masterson, CIAC Vice President Responsible Care, for his assistance in getting some of our Forum speakers,” said Pasteris.
In keeping with Minerva’s objective to include students themselves in the program, our James Ham Safe Design Award was presented to the 2013 winners at the Western and Ryerson Forums. The Minerva Educational Awards of Honour were presented as well at an evening reception following the Ryerson Forum.
2012 Learning Forums
From learning how to instil a culture of safety to providing input on new teaching modules, engineering professors and educators from across Canada left the 2012 Minerva Learning Forums with a better grasp of the importance of teaching health and safety management concepts to their students and with an introduction to the many valuable resources to help them integrate core principles into engineering curricula.
The professors arrived with a variety of expectations:
- To learn more about Minerva and what to teach about health and safety
- To understand health and safety regulations in Canada
- To find out how to tap into all disciplines since health and safety is so multi-disciplinary
- To take away knowledge to impart to students so they can influence change in the workplace
- To discover ways to teach safety that will resonate with students and engage them
- To get updated on Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board requirements for health and safety
- To access a self-contained module on health and safety to insert in the first-year engineering course so students get exposure early in the curriculum.
According to Anand Prakash, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Western University, “This is a very important and good forum. I was here last year and came back because I heard they added some new things.”
One of these is the creation of an Electrical Safety Module by the Electrical Safety Association in partnership with Minerva. “This will mean that all engineering students are introduced to the concepts of electrical safety; which should be taught in all first year electrical courses but aren’t,” says Graeme Norval , Associate Chair and Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, who co-chaired this Learning Forum for the fifth year in a row. “And the professors are quite supportive of the move to e-modules which gives them additional e-learning available for the students.”
One of the staples of the Learning Forums was a keynote speech from a leader in the health and safety community. This year featured George Griziotis, Chief Prevention Officer, Ontario Ministry of Labour, who set up Ontario’s first Prevention Office with a mandate to deliver an integrated service delivery model for health and safety in the province. His position was created following a 2010 review of Ontario’s workplace health and safety system led by U of T Professor Tony Dean.