Conestoga news

March 11, 2009 1:01 PM

Canadian University and Polytechnics Partner with European Universities on Project

Students in mechanical, manufacturing and mechatronics engineering at three Canadian institutions will have the opportunity to study in Europe as part of an exchange project under the Transatlantic Exchange Partnership (TEP) being funded equally by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) and the European Union (EU).

The three-year exchange agreement involves Canadian participants Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Kitchener, ON), SAIT Polytechnic (Calgary, AB) and the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON). The European partner institutions are the University of Braunschweig – Institute of Technology (Germany), the University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard (France) and the Technical University of Liberec (Czech Republic).

During the TEP project, a total of 42 senior-level students will have the opportunity to participate in exchange activities involving academic studies and paid, co-op work terms, with travel and living expenses covered by project funds from HRSDC and the EU.

The first exchanges began in February 2009, when three Liberec students arrived at Conestoga. In September, three Conestoga students will go to Liberec. Each exchange arrangement lasts approximately eight months. The University of Waterloo’s and SAIT Polytechnic’s first student participation in this TEP project will begin in fall 2009.

Student and institutional participation will be on a rotational basis. For example, this year’s exchange will involve three students each from Conestoga and Liberec. Next year’s will involve two each from Conestoga and Belmont-Montbéliard. The third year will involve two students each from Conestoga and Braunschweig.

There is also a curriculum and academic development dimension to the TEP partnership. Faculty representatives from the six institutions will engage in discussions and collaborations in order to devise project-based and problem-based learning experiences for students in their programs at their universities and institutes. This will result in new approaches to engineering curriculum delivery, and an enriched teaching-learning process. These activities will include periodic exchanges involving 12 faculty (six each from Canada and Europe) to develop, validate and incorporate the project-based and problem-based learning elements into integrated engineering curricula.


"We want to give our students the ability to broaden their educational experience though the opportunity to learn overseas, at European technical institutes that are leaders in the mechanical, manufacturing and mechatronic fields. The ability of all the participating students to learn, work and live in a different environment will enrich them, but also provide enrichment when they return to their home institutes. This will also be the case with the faculty who teach them and with the faculty who are developing the curricular and project-based collaborations and innovations."

-- Tony Martinek, TEP Project Coordinator, Conestoga College

"This partnership provides students with exposure to a global education experience, which is truly reflective of today’s marketplace. SAIT is proud to be involved in this project and to participate in new curriculum development for problem-based, project-based learning."

-- Brad Donaldson, Dean, School of Manufacturing and Automation, SAIT Polytechnic

"This is a great opportunity to enhance the already extensive range of international exchange programs currently available to engineering students at the University of Waterloo, as well as jointly develop new approaches to educating our students with project-based learning."

-- Dr. Jan Huissoon, Deputy Chair, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo

About the partners . . .

congestoga-logo.gif Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning serves one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. Midwestern Ontario is also known as Canada’s Technology Triangle, and is home to many businesses and industries with global reputations for innovation and excellence. Conestoga is a comprehensive polytechnic institute featuring a full range of programs and services to a student population that annually numbers 7,500 full-time, post-secondary students; 3,500 apprenticeship, preparatory and certificate-level students; and more than 40,000 registrants in part-time adult and continuing education courses, and customized training for businesses, industries and organizations. Each year, Conestoga produces more than 3,000 graduates who go on to start or advance careers in a variety of fields, all of which contribute to the economic and social progress of the region Conestoga serves. Conestoga is a proud member of Polytechnics Canada.


SAIT Polytechnic has maintained close association with businesses and industries to ensure graduate success since 1916. SAIT offers 68 certificate, diploma and applied degree programs, as well as 33 apprenticeship programs, 300 distance education courses and 1,800 continuing education and customized corporate training courses. SAIT offers training in 15 countries around the world and last year had 79,000 course and program registrations. SAIT is a proud member of Polytechnics Canada.


In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada’s leading comprehensive universities, with 28,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. Waterloo, as home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery.


John Sawicki (Conestoga College), 519-748-5220, ext. 3336,
Heidi Sparks (SAIT Polytechnic), 403-284-8473,
Michael Strickland (University of Waterloo), 519-888-4777,