New engg. dean keeps students in mind

By Rebecca Pfliger

Engineering students will celebrate more than Canada’s birthday this July 1st. The University of Calgary Schulich School of Engineering will also welcome their new dean.

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon has a long history with the U of C–she’s received three of her four degrees here.

Currently a professor and head of the geomatics engineering department, Cannon has received dozens of awards for her work. She was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2000, sits on five different boards and was listed as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40. But she says being acknowledged by students is one of her greatest accomplishments.

“When they come in the classroom and you’re teaching, they’re not really interested in the work you’ve done before,” said Cannon. “They’re really interested in you bringing the subject to life and inspiring them.”

It’s no wonder that with this much personal success Cannon has big plans for the engineering faculty.

“Calgary and Alberta are centers for engineering right now,” she said. “We’re in a great position to grow in reputation both nationally and internationally.”

Cannon plans to bring the Schulich School of Engineering international success by supporting her students, not only academically but personally as well. She explained that her new leadership role will allow her to mentor both faculty and students.

At the beginning of her career in 1980, less than five per cent of engineering students were women, and she will be the first female dean in the engineering faculty’s history.

Cannon said the field has changed a lot since then. The current environment is more positive for both women and men.

“We want to further enhance the experience for students to ensure that we’re building the best environment for them,” said Cannon. “So from the moment they arrive at school they not only connect with each other but also with the community. I want their experience here to not only be about education but also about personal growth.”

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