Instilling a strong sense of equity and inclusion alongside professional ethics for new engineering students is the goal of a new ceremony launched by the University of Guelph’s School of Engineering.
The inaugural Gryphon Wing Ceremony was held Nov. 10. The annual event at U of G will bookend the Iron Ring ceremony that traditionally marks the end of undergraduate education for Canadian engineering students.
This month, 600 U of G students pledged to uphold the highest standards of learning and conduct, and received an ornamental silver wing pin, a replica of a wing of the University’s iconic Gryphon statue.
“One aim of the Gryphon Wing Ceremony is to help foster a sense of community,” said Prof. Andrea Bradford, associate director of undergraduate studies in engineering.
“We believe that creating a sense of community can contribute to student wellness and improve academic performance. The event helped us communicate to the students that we care about their learning and wellness.”
Those ideas were captured in a poem written and read at the event by engineering student Qurat Dar that encouraged students to help find solutions to global issues.
“Is there anything fiercer than seeing a world on the brink and thinking it’s time to build a better one?” the poem asks.
John Runciman, director of the School of Engineering, said the school fosters inclusivity and diversity in its educational programs to ensure students achieve academic and personal potential.
“We are very fortunate in that we have a very diverse stream of students coming in, and we’ve also got a really diverse group of faculty members,” Runciman said.
He said the school wanted to replicate the enthusiasm around the Iron Ring ceremony and reinforce ethical behaviour and professionalism among entering students.
Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president (academic), said the ceremony “was infused with excitement and with a sincere commitment to fostering a culture of innovation, lifelong learning and continuous improvement.”
The University of Guelph has a deep commitment to building excellence through equity and inclusion, Yates added. That commitment helps create the University’s distinctive School of Engineering and drives a positive student experience at U of G generally.
“The ceremony launches a student’s academic career with the encouragement to being at their very best.”
The school’s code of ethics and professional conduct states that students should act with courtesy, honesty and respect toward all.
“If we do our part to build a more equitable and inclusive learning and work environment, we will improve life for so many,” Yates said.