Industry Days: experiential education at the Faculty of Engineering

The Faculty of Engineering of the University of Debrecen is intent on introducing innovative and experiential education in line with the expectations and requirements of the 21st century. This was announced at the conference entitled Industry Days in Debrecen, held on Wednesday at Nagyerdei Stadium, jointly organized by our institution of higher education, Debrecen’s Municipality and the Technical Committee of the Debrecen Academic Committee. There were about 30 industrial companies presenting their products at the trade exhibition linked to the program.

Géza Husi, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Debrecen (FE, UD), noted that the new, almost 3,000 square meter, wing next to the street Virág utca of the Ótemető utcai campus was scheduled to be completed by May 2024, and it will be the new home for automotive courses. He then added that, hopefully, the Automotive Research Center on Vezér utca would also be inaugurated this year, with four classrooms and four workshops furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. This modern facility is planned to be shared with the automotive companies present in Debrecen, including BMW, DKV and Daimler, whose partner in Debrecen manufactures buses and small utility vehicles.

“The Faculty of Engineering of the University of Debrecen aims to play a central part in both education and research in our immediate region. We hope to provide both practical and experiential training. I do not believe that, in today's accelerated world, artificial intelligence, for instance, should be introduced and taught to the students by using methods dating back to the past century, exclusively on the basis of classroom lectures. Instead, the focus should be on teaching and research competences," said Géza Husi.

The Head of the Faculty underlined that he and his colleagues are now increasingly involved in research, and the larger part of their institutional income nowadays comes from this activity.

Mayor of Debrecen László Papp explained that, in recent years, our city has witnessed dynamic industrial development, which is gradually leading to the dominance of the automotive, electronics and service industries. While the size of the industrial park areas around Debrecen has increased tenfold, the local government's local business tax revenue has multiplied three and a half times over the past decade to reach HUF 34.5 billion.

“The economy of Debrecen today demands the highest possible quality of training processes, which the University of Debrecen is absolutely capable of providing,” he said.

László Papp highlighted that, in the future, instead of attracting large-size industrial companies, the local government would rather like to help the development of local small and medium-sized enterprises.

Tamás Mankovits, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the FE, UD, mentioned that the bachelor's degree program offers specializations in building engineering, materials technology, automotive process design, machine design, and operation and maintenance, while the master's degree program offers production support training. Specialized further training courses are offered in polymer technology, engineering simulation, technical diagnostics, structural integrity and non-destructive testing, and nuclear power plant operation. In the city of Nagyvárad (Oradea), a Hungarian-language outsourced bachelor's degree program in mechanical engineering has been offered as of 2020, with its first group of students to graduate this year.

“The bachelor's degree program in mechanical engineering at the University of Debrecen provides state-of-the-art knowledge. At present, almost 30 percent of the students at the Faculty of Engineering study mechanical engineering. In December, as many as 129 students passed their state examinations and we also have a good supply of new students. Currently, 212 students just from Hungary are now applying to learn with us," said the Head of the Department.

Tamás Mankovits pointed out that, at present, there are 26 companies involved as partners in different forms of dual training and a total of 35 students take courses in this form. In addition, a further 40 companies are participating in the mechanical engineering training program.
He also noted that, this year, the companies Schaeffler, Krones and Power Belt would set up a laboratory to support the training at the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Faculty of Engineering.

In conjunction with the Industry Days in Debrecen conference, a technical exhibition was also held in the venue called Hall of Nagyerdei Stadium, where more than 30 industrial companies introduced, among other things, a wide range of technical novelties as well as training and job opportunities to an audience made up of mostly high school and university students about to embark on their future careers.

Press Centre - OCs