Feb. 28, 2014

Schulich School of Engineering: highest rate of diversity among faculties

72 per cent of faculty have obtained at least one international degree

Cambridge, Harvard and Yale graduates are coming to the University of Calgary to further their world-class research and teaching, according to a new study.

Fifty-one per cent of the University of Calgary’s 1,784 faculty members have at least one degree obtained from outside Canada, while 36 per cent moved to Canada from other countries, according to the internal study, titled Faculty Diversity at the University of Calgary.

International faculty members who are now teaching and researching at the University of Calgary most often list, as their university of origin, the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, University of London, University of California at Berkley, University of Oxford, and Yale University. The countries of education listed most often are the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India, China, France, Australia, Iran, Italy, and Japan.

“Our mission is to foster education excellence, so we strive to attract and retain exceptional academics and help them thrive,” explains Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic). Two of the seven priorities identified in the University of Calgary’s Academic Plan include internationalization, and talent attraction and development.

Fresh perspectives and international ties

Overall, University of Calgary faculty has been educated in almost 70 countries. Study at foreign universities such as Tsinghua University in China or the University of Sydney in Australia helps bring fresh perspectives and forges relationships with universities worldwide.

The Schulich School of Engineering has the highest rate of diversity among the faculties, with 72 per cent having obtained at least one degree from a university outside Canada. The other top faculties are Environmental Design (70 per cent), Haskayne School of Business (61 per cent), Veterinary Medicine (60 per cent) and Law (60 per cent).   

Through its Eyes High strategic direction, the University of Calgary is committed to becoming a global intellectual hub where students, staff and faculty promote new discoveries, ideas and applications that will have global impact. 

“One of the main goals for developing our International Strategy is to increase diversity of our campus communities and become a leading choice in Canada for international students, scholars and partners,” says Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international). “A culturally diverse, high-quality student body improves the educational experience, while international faculty members bring unique perspectives that prepare students to become global citizens.”

Ruwanpura himself is an international faculty member with university degrees from Sri Lanka, United States and Canada. “When it comes to our faculty members, it’s clear we’ve made significant progress over the years,” he says.

Individuals thrive too

While the university benefits from the strong presence of international faculty, individuals also benefit – many international faculty members have excelled in Calgary.  

John Chen came to the University of Calgary from Xi’an Jiatong University, part of the “Chinese Ivy League.” He is a professor in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering department, director of the iCentre for Simulation and Visualization, the NSERC/AERI/Foundation CMG Chair in Reservoir Simulation, and the iCORE Industrial Chair in Reservoir Modeling. Chen has won many awards such as the Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Technology award and the IBM Faculty award.

He knows why internationalization makes sense. “With the help of my diverse group of research students and post-doctoral fellows, we have developed innovative concepts and approaches to research into oil and gas reservoir engineering and simulation that have global applications. My theory, algorithms and software have been extremely well received and employed not only by my peers in academia but also by industry worldwide,” says Chen.

Read more about the university’s international activities.