The New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) has appointed Dr Patricia Xavier as its new Associate Professor, Programme Leader for Integrated Engineering, and Acting Academic Director. Dr Patricia Xavier brings a wealth of experience and an innovative approach that aligns seamlessly with NMITE’s mission to redefine engineering education for the future.
With a career spanning from Hohai University in Nanjing, China, to a Design Engineer role at Ove Arup & Partners in Wales, Patricia comes well-equipped for the job. She has spent a decade at Swansea University, creating and leading the Department for General Engineering. “Patricia’s extensive background in engineering education, her international experience, and her dedication to addressing the pressing challenges of our time make her the ideal leader for NMITE,” said James Newby, CEO and President of NMITE.
One of Patricia’s core aims is to infuse social sciences into NMITE’s curriculum. She believes this creates engineers who not only excel technically but are also socially aware and responsible. Patricia has co-taught courses merging social sciences and engineering for five years. “This collaboration created engineers who outperformed their peers,” she noted.
In her new role, Patricia plans to focus on authentic assessment to foster insightful and innovative thinking among students. “NMITE’s commitment to redefining engineering education aligns perfectly with my vision for a more holistic and adaptable approach,” Patricia said. She has been particularly impressed by NMITE students, describing them as “highly engaged, talkative, and curious.”
Patricia’s educational philosophy is influenced by Brazilian educator and activist Paolo Freire. “To be fully engaged citizens means students need to be empowered to take a stand against injustice,” Patricia says. She appreciates NMITE’s industry-led approach and is an advocate for active learning and industry engagement.
Currently, Patricia is collaborating with colleagues Dr Peter Metcalfe and Dr Parakram Pyakurel on a Masters-level module on Wind Energy Infrastructure, co-taught with Octopus Energy. The module is challenge-led, requiring students to develop a proposal for a new wind farm, taking into consideration various technical, social, political, and legal factors. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the ideas they bring to the table,” Patricia said, emphasizing that the challenge will push students out of their comfort zones.
With the appointment of Dr Patricia Xavier, NMITE takes another step forward in redefining engineering education, promising a future of engineers who are not just technically sound but also socially responsible and aware.