Published on January 9, 2013

Doha at night is a great time to view its many skyscrapers and lights.

In my role as president of PCS, I was invited to participate in the first World Congress on Engineering Education, sponsored by Texas A&M University at Qatar and the Maersk Oil Company.  The event brought together engineering educators, industry representatives, and members of government for three days of workshops, sessions, and vibrant discussions.

First up on Monday was a series of workshops, including the workshop on career development for engineering leaders in which I participated.  My topic was engineering communication as a leadership skill, and I used the workshop time to gather up the attendees’ views on what defines “effective communication” and to recommend a number of resources that can help with their communication development.

In sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, I heard presentations on problem-based learning, leadership and entrepreneurship, and many more.  At the closing plenary session, I moderated a panel discussion on the subject of career development for engineers.  The panel was full of presidents:  the president of ASEE, the president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, not to mention the president of PCS!

This was my first trip to the Middle East, and I found the desert landscape so interesting in contrast to my normal Indiana location.  I also enjoyed meeting engineering educators from the Middle East, from Oman, Qatar, and the UAE, as well as from Malaysia.  Our shared interest in educating undergraduate engineering students provided an important cultural bridge among so many different people with so many different backgrounds.