Committed to the best student experience: Introducing Lauren Briens as Assistant Dean, First Year Studies

Western Engineering News | July 4, 2016

Lauren_BriensAs Western Engineering’s student population has grown — and is anticipated to continue to increase — resources to ensure that we deliver the best student experience are in high demand.

An important part of this experience begins with a successful transition into first year. The Engineering Undergraduate Services team is excited to announce Associate Professor Lauren Briens as Assistant Dean, First Year Studies — a brand new position created to support incoming students.

Briens brings an array of experience to the position, most recently serving as Associate Chair, Undergraduate in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, and in various roles within the faculty supporting undergraduate curriculum and outreach activities.

Working in a primarily male-dominated field, Briens is passionate about outreach initiatives that encourage women to explore engineering. She was instrumental in the creation of the Western Women in Science and Engineering Research (WWiSER) group where she currently serves as the co-chair.

“The number of female engineers is growing, but slowly,” she explained. “Women often feel discouraged to pursue engineering, and yet female students are frequently at the top of the class and make outstanding contributions to the profession.”

Briens’ ability to support incoming students is founded not only on her faculty and outreach experience, but on her personal journey as a Western student. Completing all three of her degrees (BSc’92, BESc’94 and PhD’00) at Western, she possesses a unique understanding of the University’s commitment to student satisfaction.

While no longer a student herself, Briens’ excitement about working with students is undeniable.

“The best part about Western Engineering is the people, especially the students,” she said. “Interacting with the students is engaging and fun and many of them have interesting ideas, experiences and backgrounds to share. It is also very rewarding to help them learn and grow and develop new skills.”

In her new role, Briens will support a variety of new initiatives, including successfully facilitating the student transition from high school to university, ensuring the common first year provides appropriate academic preparation for success, and assisting students in developing skills to progress through upper-year programs.

Achieving success in her own career has come while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In the summer months, Briens can frequently be found in her garden or spending her holidays on hiking trips. She also enjoys knitting and is passionate about modern, minimalist architecture and green and accessible renovations.

She hopes to help incoming students understand the importance of a balanced lifestyle while managing academic stress.

Lauren Briens and the Undergraduate Services team look forward to welcoming the Class of 2020 in September.