UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 4 | Feb.
Exchange pairs design and Wood Processing students
Learning combines art, science of working with wood
Although blessed with some of the world's best timber, Canada
has a long way to go to catch up to countries like Sweden when it
comes to wood furniture design and manufacturing. But as the old
saying goes, every great journey begins with one small step.
UBC and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design have taken that
first step with an exchange program that has students from the Faculty
of Forestry's Wood Products Processing Program enrolled in an industrial
design class at Emily Carr, while Emily Carr students are enrolled
in a specialized Wood Science class at UBC.
The exchange, inaugurated this term, is designed to assist students
to not only design attractive and functional wood products, but
ones that are easily replicable and can therefore be mass produced.
"When we look at our competition around the world, we recognize
that our natural resources are superior in many ways, but our human
resources need to be further developed," says Wood Science Assoc.
Prof. Simon Ellis, director of Undergraduate Programs. "We have
to get further ahead in designing new products and efficient manufacturing
processes in making those products."
According to Ellis, the two institutions initiated discussions
about sharing teaching expertise some three years ago, but eventually
concluded an exchange of students was preferable over an exchange
of faculty to immerse students more thoroughly in a related, but
distinctly different industry culture.
Currently, 12 senior students from UBC attend a weekly three-hour
class on the basics of industrial design at Emily Carr. Twenty-five
Emily Carr students attend a weekly course at UBC designed specifically
for them, that focuses on wood material properties and manufacturing
The Wood Products Processing Program, introduced in 1995, emphasizes
engineering concepts, business, communication and problem-solving
skills in order to produce graduates capable of managing a wood
products manufacturing facility.