TRU’s former interim dean of trades, Baldev Pooni, was appointed dean of the school of trades and technology on March 1. Pooni had served as the interim dean of trades since last September, after former dean of trades, Lindsay Langill, stepped down from the position following a vote of non-confidence conducted by the TRU Faculty Association.
Compared to his predecessor, Pooni says his style of governing the trades faculty will be both “transparent” and “collaborative.”
“I am a firm believer that my faculty are experts in what they do,” Pooni said. “So it’s a case of how do I engage those people into working collaboratively as a group for the development of programs for student success.”
Pooni believes that by fully collaborating with faculty on program developments and changes to the school of trades, he can ensure student success. Pooni indicated that in his five months of working at TRU, the faculty in the school of trades have been largely supportive of his method of operation.
However, Pooni says that if problems do arise, he will be the first one to notice.
“The thing is, if I came to it that I’m not really fit for the position and I’m not helping the faculty and the students here, then I would be the first one to say, ‘Maybe this isn’t the place for me,’” Pooni said. “But that hasn’t been my experience to date.”
As the new dean, Pooni hopes to maximize the opportunities presented to students within the school. Formerly the dean of trades at Camosun College in Victoria, Pooni was instrumental in the development of Camosun College’s mechanical engineering technology program.
Camosun has since expanded into other areas, such as civil engineering and electrical engineering. Transfers from Camosun to engineering programs at other B.C. universities such as UVic, UBC, UBCO and SFU have become so popular in recent years that nearly a quarter of UVic’s engineering grads transferred from Camosun, Pooni said.
With the addition of the Industrial Training and Technology Centre to TRU’s campus next year, Pooni is hoping to see something similar happen here.
“Having come to TRU, there are many exciting things to do,” Pooni said. “With the new building and all the new programs going in there, I would like to be able to use my past experience to structure what some of these new technology programs may look like.”
With an engineering program soon coming to TRU, Pooni wants to bridge the gap between engineering and trades to create even more opportunities for students.
Pooni will serve a five-year term as TRU’s dean of trades and technology, during which he says his main focus will be to foster recognition in the local community.
“I would say probably for the next three-to-five years, we will really be getting these programs off the ground and getting them known in the community,” Pooni said. “Also we want to build a reputation for these programs so that students will want to come here to do them. I think that that is a significant undertaking that will massively expand the faculty of trades and technology.”