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Multidisciplinary Engineering Education

Multidisciplinary Engineering Education brings together a collaboration of academic, technical and professional services staff to deliver sector leading practical education that transforms students into capable engineers. Their pioneering approach of a cross-faculty team, dedicated to practical education at scale, embeds hands-on multidisciplinary teaching at the core of student programmes.
Year
2021
Institution
University of Sheffield

Multidisciplinary Engineering Education (MEE) is a department created five years ago with a single mission; to deliver all the practical teaching activities to the students in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield. MEE comprises 16 academics, 23 technical and 7 professional services staff, working together to fulfil a vision; “We collaborate to deliver excellent teaching and memorable learning experiences that transform students into independent, practical engineers.” 

MEE is based in the Diamond building, built specifically for the team, which houses specialist laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment for engineers of the future. Staff, equipment and resources are shared between all students in the faculty, requiring close working relationships within MEE and with other engineering departments. The benefits for students from this model include greater access to world-class multidisciplinary teaching delivered by experts in practical engineering education. Academic staff are responsible for teaching, design and delivery, and liaison to integrate practical work into student programmes. Technical staff concentrate more on preparing and developing the facilities in addition to delivering teaching sessions. Professional services lead on coordinating activities for students and staff and the monitoring and improvement of the student experience. The team would not function without any of these staff groups.

The department prides itself on instilling a culture of breaking down traditional job boundaries and staff are encouraged to contribute their expertise during the day to day tasks or when developing new projects. Innovation is actively encouraged from all staff and all roles are student-facing, focusing the whole team on providing an outstanding student experience. MEE is organised into three broad multidisciplinary themes, each led by both an academic and a technician. These themes are based on physical concepts, rather than classical engineering disciplines, allowing members of the team to identify where the skills and strengths of the department lie. Members of different themes often work together, beyond traditional boundaries, enabling collaborative and truly multidisciplinary programmes of practical engineering education for every student.