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Prof John Mitchell Inaugural Lecture

"Re-engineering Engineering Education"
Prof John Mitchell Inaugural Lecture

Prof John Mitchell

Professor John Mitchell gave his Inaugural Lecture titled ‘Re-Engineering Engineering Education’ on 22nd June to a packed audience of colleagues, friends and family. Following an introduction by our Head of Department, Professor Sarah Spurgeon, John gave an inspiring talk about the challenges and successes he experiences in revolutionising the engineering curriculum at UCL.


Engineering, as with all the creative arts, requires professionals with a range of skills, knowledge and attributes. This creates significant challenges to engineering educators striving to deliver the education needed by their students in the context of often competing pressures from government, industry, professional bodies and the students themselves. At UCL, the Integrated Engineering Programme was established to review and revise the engineering curriculum across the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences. Built on the principles of a research-led connected curriculum, it aims to provide the education our graduates need to be successful in a wide range of career paths within employment sectors that may not even exist today. It looked to build on the existing strengths of departments but also to encourage activities between the different disciplines, while promoting the practical application of knowledge and transferable skills alongside the traditional rigour in fundamental theory. This inaugural lecture will describe the path taken by this project. It will explore the rational behind the developments, the process of change and highlight the challenges and successes experienced.

About Professor John Mitchell

John Mitchell is currently Vice Dean (Education) for the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences and Professor of Communications Systems Engineering in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He is also co-director of the Centre for Engineering Education, a join centre between the UCL Faculty of Engineering Science and the Institute of Education. In 2012 he was appointed to lead a major review and revision of the undergraduate curriculum across UCL Engineering. This resulted in the development of the Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP). The IEP launched in 2014 and will graduate its first students in 2016. He has conducted research into Engineering Education and has published on curriculum development with engineering. In 2016 in was awarded an MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education from the UCL Institute of Education.

His research is focused on optical and wireless access systems, considering optical fibre access, millimeter-wave radio access, as well as systems that combine these two areas, specifically to support mobile front/back haul systems. This work has been funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) , the European Union (FP7, Marie-Curie), the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and industry (including BT and SELEX ES). The outputs of this work have been published widely, as well as resulting in involvement in the organisation of, or as an invited speaker at, a number of major international conferences. He is currently coordinator of a €3.9M EU MSCA funded network research the development of photonics technologies to support 5G networks.

Professor Mitchell is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Member of the Board of Directors of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). In 2009, he was awarded the UCL Provost's award for teaching.