A new shop, and a new 3D printer
During my time on campus, I have never taken an Economics course, but it doesn’t take an expert to determine that a million dollars is a lot of money. Fortunately, an anonymous donor was kind enough to use that money to further higher learning. A recent donation to the University of Regina was used to set up new equipment and workspace for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. The donation is dedicated to lifelong friends John and Tillie Mitchell.
When walking by the Mitchell Workshops, one will notice the open design of the windows that face into the hall, which is a drastic change and perk from the lack of windows in the incandescently lit Education Building. Inside the shop, tools are neatly laid upon the walls and several rooms have a variety of equipment an untrained eye like mine doesn’t recognize, though I’m assured that one of the sleek new rectangles is a 3D printer.
While near the new shop, I stopped 11 engineering students and apparently none of them yet had a chance to take advantage of the area. Some were of the opinion that the shop wasn’t yet open for students, but were uncertain. In a brief conversation with Chris Yung, who is part of the administration of the machine shop, it was clarified that they are still getting all the equipment operational this semester and that the shop is currently partly open.
The shop is intended for use by undergraduate engineering students, to help give them more hands on experience during their degree, aligning with the university’s experiential learning goals. Experiential learning is a learning theory based upon learning by doing. Universities and educators who advocate for experiential learning tout the benefits of increased student engagement and that students enjoy the learning experience more.
The shop will also be shared by the Educating Youth in Engineering and Science program that is run by the U of R. The program has field trip opportunities throughout the year for grades 2-9 and provides science day camps throughout the summer months, demonstrating how the new shop will help the broader community.
The $1 million donation for the workshop comes amid the U of R pandemic recovery. This May, it was announced that the U of R budget projected a $3.5 million shortfall, resulting in a reduction to the spending of each faculty by 2.7 per cent. As reported by Statistics Canada in 2020, universities across the country are facing similar budgetary issues. Amid rising tuitions, which many students find unfavourable, and decreasing provincial funding nation-wide, universities are increasingly turning to private donors and corporate sponsorships, like in this case of the John and Tillie Mitchell Student Shop.