Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Technology,
With a focus on diversity, industry collaboration, and global perspectives, Seneca is creating the engineering leaders of the future.
Seneca was established in 1967 and is widely recognized as a leader in postsecondary education. With over 145 full-time programs and 135 part-time programs including 14 bachelor’s degrees and 30 graduate certificates spread across six different faculties — including applied arts and health sciences, business, communication, art and design, and applied science and engineering technology — the school’s career-focused programming is producing hosts of successful graduates.
“Seneca is a comprehensive urban college, with campuses in Toronto, York Region and Peterborough, that offers credentials ranging from short-term micro credentials all the way to four-year honours baccalaureate degrees,” says Ranjan Bhattacharya, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Technology at Seneca.
Fostering future-ready leaders
As a polytechnic, Seneca is focused on applied technical education, including industry integration and experiential learning. With international connections, It’s providing the next generation of globally aware graduates the knowledge, experience, and cultural savvy to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.
“It all starts with making sure we’re meeting the needs of our industry partners and community,” says Bhattacharya. “Our programming is very industry-focused and industry-integrated. We also place quite an emphasis on experiential learning. Industry-recognized certifications are embedded in the curriculum of many of our programs, and many also offer co-ops, placements, internships, and community service options.” Capstone courses give students further opportunities to work on real-life problems, applying the knowledge they’ve learned in class to the context of an industry environment.
Seneca is also heavily focused on attracting a diverse pool of students and faculty to its campuses, especially to the applied science and engineering technology faculty that Bhattacharya leads.
Engineering is a global profession and a diverse field, and so emphasizing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is an important part of preparing students for successful careers. “We want to make sure we create graduates who understand the greater world we live in,” says Bhattacharya. “Engineering technology professionals are problem-solvers. They play a critical role in shaping the world we live in, from designing infrastructure to developing new technologies, and the best way to go about solving problems is to make sure you have diverse perspectives around the table.”
Focusing on EDI in engineering helps to address bias and discrimination, meet the needs of diverse communities, improve collaboration and innovation, and attract and retain top talent.
“Having a deep understanding of EDI issues is crucial for engineering graduates to create a more inclusive and equitable society,” says Bhattacharya.
Creating equitable AI
As an example of the importance of addressing bias and discrimination, Bhattacharya brings up artificial intelligence (AI). “AI, which originated primarily in the software industry, has been white-male-dominated for decades,” he says. “The AI systems are created and released based on who’s designing them, and they’re only as objective as the data they are trained on. If the data is biased, the output is inherently biased.”
For example, there is evidence that some AI facial recognition technology has been less accurate at identifying women and people with darker skin tones than it has when identifying men and people with lighter skin.
“An emphasis on EDI is critical in the development of AI technologies to address bias, ensure equitable outcomes, build trust, and advance innovation,” says Bhattacharya.
Learn more about how Seneca is leading the way.