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27 September 2016

Winning Program Incorporates Work Skills into Curriculum


Ottawa - Polytechnique Montréal’s complementary doctoral training program is the 2016 winner of the CAGS Award for Excellence and Innovation for Enhancing the Graduate Student Experience.

Organizers integrated input from students and professors, best practices from the United States and Europe, and discussions with other CAGS institutions in the process of designing a program that prepares graduate engineering students for diverse employment.

In place since 2012, it consists of a series of workshops of one credit each, deployed over the three years of the doctoral process. Four primary workshops are mandatory. They have been integrated into the curriculum and must be completed by the end of the fourth semester in order for a student to pass their comprehensive examination. All workshops consist of 15 hours of classroom time in addition to assignments tailored to the student's research project. The workshops of the second and third steps are taken on a voluntary basis.

Last year Polytechnique conducted an evaluation of the program to test its success as determined by the 374 students who had then completed the mandatory section of the program.

“Nearly 75 per cent of the respondents felt the program enabled them to better prepare for each step of the doctoral process, “says Pierre Baptiste, director of graduate studies and former director of mathematical and industrial engineering.

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Pierre Baptiste, director of graduate studies and former director of mathematical and industrial engineering



“The results of this evaluation were essential to validate and improve the complementary doctoral training at Polytechnique, and serve as a model for institutions which, like us, want to support the process and development of doctoral students in their programs and in preparing for their career.” Last July, two workshops were presented at the Winter School of the Doctoral Academy, in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

“This award is well-deserved and shows how Canada’s graduate schools are responding to their students’ needs and current market demands,” says Dr. Brenda Brouwer, CAGS president. “Polytechnique’s program creates significant opportunities to gain experience and learning beyond the dissertation.”

Polytechnique Montréal is one of the largest education and research establishments in engineering in Canada. It has more than 5,000 students at the undergraduate level, and more than 2,000 at the graduate and post-graduate levels, including 700 in doctoral studies.

The Award for Excellence and Innovation in Enhancing the Graduate Experience is offered annually to a CAGS institution or one of its graduate programs. This year’s winners will receive their citation in November at the CAGS conference. Polytechnique’s work will be highlighted during a workshop led by Jean Dansereau and Élise Saint-Jacques.