Blogs, U Musings

Classes in engineering building a ‘bittersweet wish’

It’s strange being an engineering student at the University of Miami. Learning to say, “Sorry, I can’t go to that party. I have to study,” and accepting that no good grade comes easy is hard.

However, the all-nighters, short victories and mounds of stress all come with a reason: the reward. Well, there are a few: the beautiful weather in Coral Gables, the promise of extensive earning power and the engineering facilities. All these things motivate students to withstand engineering’s horror.

Except, as a sophomore, I’ve only had three classes in the engineering building, two of them being English! All of my major-specific classes have been in the Whitten Learning Center or Dooley Memorial, not the McArthur Engineering Building.

I’m not the only engineer facing this strange situation. Every engineer I know experiences this. Mechanical, aerospace, electrical, environmental and all the rest rarely have classes in McArthur.

Why is this so? Should someone pay for an entire building to house the engineering department if the students aren’t having classes there? Is it a waste of our money to support a building that the students don’t even go to for classes?

When you walk around the engineering school, you find a lot of unused labs and classrooms. Professors’ offices are there as well. If the classrooms aren’t in use, why not schedule classes in them instead of sending students and professors to another building? On the bright side, I have five extra minutes to get to class because my professors are sometimes late, having to walk from their office in the engineering building to my classes.

It seems a bit silly to build these facilities to just leave them so empty and unused, almost as if all the students have been abducted by aliens. Also, will I ever have classes in there? I don’t know many engineering upperclassmen, but I do notice that seniors will go and use labs to work on projects and assignments whenever they like. This is convenient and probably helps them manage their time effectively. I’m happy that this is convenient for them, but it seems wasteful to have the engineering classes sitting around unused, even if it’s for that purpose.

I’ve only just begun my sophomore year, so I’m hoping that this changes as I continue to attend the University of Miami, but there’s no point to having an engineering building if so seemingly few students use it. Might as well attach it to the Knight Physics Building or Cox Science Building; I have more classes there. Hopefully as my workload increases, so will my time in the the McArthur Engineering Building. Now that’s a bittersweet wish.

Feature image courtesy Pixabay user TitratCristina

August 31, 2015


Virginia Colkley

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Classes in engineering building a ‘bittersweet wish’”

  1. Thank you for sharing your impressions and wishes. As a freshman myself, I understand your surprise and disappointment of not taking courses in the McArthur building during your sophomore year. But I know that you will have numerous courses in the classrooms and laboratories of the College of Engineering when you become a junior then senior. Indeed, one of the hallmarks objectives of the College of Engineering is the integration of education and research on all levels, with all labs designated as learning labs. If you would like to discuss with me, please stop by. My door is always open.

  2. Jen says:

    I graduated as a Biomedical Engineer in 2014 and remember only having a handful of classes in engineering as well. The buildings are mostly filled with research labs and offices and that is probably why classes aren’t held there. It would definitely be nice to have a larger building to fit classes too, but it’s also important to have places to conduct research to get that hands-on experience needed in the work field.

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