The QESST University Education (“Uni Ed”) team aims to enhance the QESST Scholar’s experience and learning while they pursue their studies at their home institute. The various components of the Uni Ed program constitute what is commonly referred to as a ‘cohort experience’, and this includes activities spanning industry-student interaction, collaborative travel, workshops/seminars, the student leadership council, etc.
The overall Uni Ed program is designed around a set of 10 graduate attributes – skills and attributes that we intend to impart on all students graduating from the QESST program. You can see the list of our graduate attributes here. That list guides the Uni Ed team when designing the cohort experience program – when we think about a potential new QESST activity, we first think about how that activity will contribute to developing one or more of the graduate attributes. If the match up seems good, we take it to the next level of consideration, things like budget constraints, required effort, perceived value etc. Our aim is that each of the Uni Ed programs contributes in some way to students’ development, and overall, the program contributes to all of the 10 graduate attributes. Students are encouraged to think about how participating in a QESST event can contribute to their development. Of course, ideas and suggestions for new activities/events, as well as feedback on existing ones, are always welcome!
One of the most important contributors to the development of graduate attributes is the Student Leadership Council (SLC), for various reasons. For example, working on the SLC develops our teamwork, communication and crossing the finish line skills, and moreover, general leadership skills. The SLC also does a great service to the larger QESST community, by organizing fun and engaging activities for the QESST student body. For these reason, the Uni Ed team is a strong supporter of the SLCs activities and programs. We also encourage QESST students to sign up for a position on the SLC for a chance to serve at the helm of the QESST student body.
Another important Uni Ed effort is our Industry-Student Interaction program. Here, Uni Ed collaborates heavily with QESST’s Industry Liaison, John Mitchell, to develop a portfolio of activities designed to enhance student interaction with industry, especially our Industry Partners and our Industry Advisory Board. There are several recurring activities include the PVSC Industry-Student Luncheon, the IAB Career Q&A Session and Mock Interviews. In addition, we’re super opportunistic when it comes to industry internships, industry visits and industry collaborative research projects. These come on an ad hoc basis, so we try to always be prepared to capture them when they arise.
Outreach is another important Uni Ed program, for a number of reasons. For one, participating in outreach develops communication skills beyond the peer-to-peer level and into the realm of communicating with the general public. It also gives students a more global perspective and context for their studies and research work. Participation also supports the overall outreach goals of the QESST “Terawatt Challenge,” and as such, outreach is incredibly important to the QESST academic team, our industry partners and especially our sponsors.
Finally, the Uni Ed team is developing a new program for the QESST’s year 4-6 effort, called the QESST X Scholar program. This program aims to help locate and define opportunities for QESST students to expand their experiences and learning in a direction of their future career interest. Thus the program is a collection of different portfolios, where each portfolio is a collection of classes, workshops, activities, etc. with a common career theme. So for example, students with a future career interest in business administration might pursue the QESST Business Scholar portfolio, while students with a career interest in innovation and startup ventures might pursue the QESST Innovation Scholar portfolio. And, while the Uni Ed team will be designing a handful of portfolios, the possibilities are endless, and students are encouraged to design their own “X” portfolio. More information is coming soon. Design your X, build your CV, boost your career!