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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 4 | Feb. 21, 2002

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 processes.

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.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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