Architecture, engineering faculties search for next dean

Jonathan Beddoes, dean of both faculties, set to finish his term this year

Dean of the architecture and engineering faculties Jonathan Beddoes is set to complete his terms for both positions this year, and the search for someone to fill the roles is underway.

Of the candidates nominated for the faculty of architecture in 2017, Beddoes — who possesses an engineering degree — was selected for the position halfway through the five-year decanal term after the recommended leave of dean Ralph Stern by the Canadian Association of University Teachers in 2015 because of a “culture of fear and retribution.”

Fourth-year architecture student and vice-stick external of the Student Architectural Society (SAS) Hanna Henriksson-Rebizant — one of two students sitting on the committee who will select the next dean — said she is nervous to see Beddoes go.

“[Stern] stepped down, and they got Beddoes, and he kind of saved everything,” she said. “He really brought us back up.”

“He’s actually done a pretty good job I think so far, especially being from engineering.”

Henriksson-Rebizant, along with fourth-year architecture student and SAS president Samantha Miller and third-year interior design student and SAS vice-stick internal Keland Newton, was impressed with Beddoes’s willingness to involve students in decision making.

“I was honestly so surprised at how much he actually wanted to hear from me, and cares about how we feel,” said Miller.

While she appreciates the work Beddoes has done as dean of the faculty of architecture, Henriksson-Rebizant said it would be an asset for the next dean to have more familiarity with the design process.

“It’s a different schooling,” she said. “All of our profs went through the same thing as us, really. And that can be good and bad. At least with that, they understand our concerns and needs and our wants.”

The students noted a certain mentality among the professors within the faculty that doesn’t allow for spare time or smaller projects.

“This faculty really teaches you how to work hard and be your own person,” said Henriksson-Rebizant.

“It teaches you how to toughen up.”

The three students noted that they would like to see more integration between the disciplines offered through the faculty of architecture, with Miller calling the current system “frustrating.”

“I only know a third of the information that my degree sort of should know,” she said.

“Anything that should be improved, it should be collaboration.”

The students also said that compared to the faculty of engineering — which Beddoes is also the dean of — architecture students have to pay much more out of their own pockets for access to machines and materials.

Miller compared it to her experience in the faculty of arts.

“I remember we were printing a couple assignments per year,” she said, “and maybe used $5 total throughout the entire year. [Now] I use $50 every few months of printing.”

The additional costs come from the fact that students in the faculty use more materials than those in others for their projects, assignments and models.

FABLab manager Jason Hare noted in an email that costs for using equipment in the workshop — which are based on consumables used for the equipment — are not covered by the faculty because the equipment is not used equally across the faculty’s four  graduate departments.

Hare also said that engineering students in certain courses may end up paying for fewer materials out-of-pocket because the materials are covered by the lab fees they pay.

Henriksson-Rebizant, Miller and Newton said that funding for student projects and materials is lower than required.

“Our faculty is not just arts and crafts,” said Henriksson-Rebizant.

“People don’t understand this faculty, they think it’s the easier version of engineering, and it’s completely different.”