Serving as the dean of USask Engineering for the past five years has been one of the great privileges of my career and I’m grateful to everyone who has been part of my journey here.
When I agreed to serve as your dean, I set out several major goals for my first term, which began in 2018. The college was ready for a change in culture after many years of instability in the Dean’s office; we were ready to begin building capacity for the future. The budget had seen years of decline, followed by a differential cut just before my interview. Funding of student activities significantly lagged other major engineering schools across the country.
Over the last five years, the team at USask Engineering has made progress on several fronts.
• We have increased the funding of our student design teams from $22,000 to $117,000 annually thanks to the hard work of student leaders who established our student-funded endowment fund.
APEGS’s ongoing support of our students through its Student Experience Fund further expands this impact.
• After extensive financial modelling of fixed costs and revenue opportunities, persistent advocacy, and the leadership of our Provost, Dr. Airini, critical base funding was recently restored to the college.
• Our college leaders have led searches that have doubled the number of female engineering faculty in our college.
• Our RE-ENGINEERED team are nationally recognized as leaders in first year education, and have given keynote lectures and workshops at Waterloo, Queen’s, UBC, McGill, and McMaster. RE-ENGINEERED changes our culture to a community of support and competency-based assessment – ensuring our students learn the critical lessons in each course before they progress. It’s a game-changer and engineering schools across the country are clamoring for us to show them how we did it.
• We are the first school in the country to provide an Indigenous module specifically designed for first-year engineering students, giving context for reconciliation within the engineering profession. This module was co-created with community members, walking the principles of reconciliation in a good way.
• We have received a generous gift that allows us to join the national IBET (Indigenous and Black Engineering/Technology) program – to remove obstacles for Black and Indigenous students who wish to enter the professoriate and provide them with networks of support and community.
• Dozens of MLAs and MPs as well as foreign diplomatic corps have visited our college in recent months. As hosts, our graduate students have learned invaluable lessons in advocacy and communication and our guests have gained important insights about our research.
• Twelve of our academics have received university-level awards, and our students are recognized with national leadership roles and as Vanier Scholars.
"We have a solid building plan, with a vision for the next five years and for staged renewal of critical educational infrastructure for the province."
-Dean Suzanne Kresta
As my term comes to a close in June 2023, I want to acknowledge two groups who keep our Thorough values strong. First, the Engineering Advancement Trust. This group of USask Engineering alumni have raised more than $4 million since the early 1980s to directly support our students’ learning experiences. Second, the Dean’s Advisory Board provides perspectives, advice, and advocacy that have been invaluable to my work as your dean.
USask Engineers are working to solve tough problems. We do research the world needs:
• creating biodegradable glitter
• heating homes with canola pellets
• developing robust power sources for remote communities
• using AI to support medical imaging diagnoses.
This is the story we will tell during the university’s upcoming fundraising campaign. We have a solid building plan, with a vision for the next five years and for staged renewal of critical educational infrastructure for the province.
The team at USask Engineering is immensely talented and we have built our capacity so that we are ready to take on bigger and more important challenges. There is a solid foundation here that we are excited to build upon.
Dr. Suzanne Kresta, PEng, FEC, FCAE
Dean, University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering