Message from IFEES President, Michael Auer

Michael AuerIFEES President
Michael Auer
IFEES President

Dear IFEES Members, Colleagues and Friends,

I feel honored to serve as the 2016-2018 IFEES President, and I would like to be in contact with you as much as possible. Maybe at one of our conferences or other events, or by writing or giving me a phone call.

We are currently witnessing a significant transformation in education, and especially engineering education (EE). There are two essential and challenging elements of this transformation process that have to be tackled in education:

  1. The impact of globalisation on all areas of human life, and
  2. The exponential acceleration of the developments in technology, as well as of the global markets, and the necessity of flexibility and agility

I see IFEES together with the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) and the Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED), our members and our partners as the great community that may play an active role in this transformation process. Who else, if not we, could provide the direction and the content with which education can help to master future challenges for society?

From this point of view I see especially for our work in and for engineering education the following conclusions:

  • As global players, IFEES, GEDC and SPEED have a special responsibility for the exchange of the needs, experiences, best practices, etc. in EE between institutions, regions and continents. In addition, due to the global dimension of engineering tasks, we are challenged to increase the support of our colleagues in developing countries, but on the other hand to learn about their needs and their own experiences.
  • The requirements for EE coming from emerging technologies such as online engineering, industry 4.0, additive technologies, robotics and many others have to be more broadly discussed. The educational concepts from the past have to be checked and adapted in a disruptive manner!
  • The new and future developments in engineering and the resulting new needs for EE require a new quality in the cooperation between all stakeholders in education (state and private universities/colleges, industry, governmental and international organizations).
  • Based on the crucial role of engineering in society we should struggle together to enhance the prestige of the engineers and the engineering profession.

I strongly believe that IFEES and the GEDC, their members and partners are the ideal community, which would put EE into a more cross-linked global context and would also create considerable synergies.

For me personally, I took home from our most recent World Engineering Education Forum in Seoul (WEEF2016) three important thoughts:

  1. The main approach for Engineering in the 21st century is collaboration, and this on many levels,
  • Within a university or college, for example, by creating interdisciplinary solutions for outstanding problems,
  • Between universities and
  • On a global scale.

On the other side, we need a new quality of collaboration between academia, industry, professional and governmental organizations.

  1. The complexity of engineering projects and solutions dramatically increases and includes more and more non-technical questions (social, ethical, the humanities, …)
  2. One of the key tasks in the future work of engineers is the development of a sustainable society, which is essential to keep the global environment in balance. Maybe this could become a global initiative of IFEES and its members.

We just celebrated 10 years of IFEES and could show the sustainability of our organization, which is testified by a stable, as well as growing, community, increasing quality and diversity in our work.

Let us work together to make the change in EE a reality.

A change that already started!

A change which is a global one, which needs the close cooperation between colleagues from different countries regions, continents.

Michael Auer
IFEES President