Handiss Spotlight - Rajib Dey

Handiss Spotlight: Rajib Dey

Geotechnical Engineer and Geo-hazard Specialist

Dr. Rajib Dey is a Geotechnical Engineer working with Stantec in the Markham, ON office. He has thirteen years of combined experience in teaching, consulting and research in the field of offshore and onshore geotechnical engineering.

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Q: Apart from your job as a Geotechnical Engineer, you’re also a university instructor. When did you begin your teaching career, and what motivated you?

A: The key motivation is to share my knowledge and experience with the students and help them. Actually I started providing lectures for 12-grade Physics, Chemistry and Math since 2002 while completing my undergrad studies in Bangladesh. This helped me to understand the students’ needs and any lack in terms of their understanding. I used to prepare my lecture on my own way so that students could easily understand the material and find it more interest. Later on, I started working at Memorial University as an instructor/teaching assistant in 2010.

Q: How do you manage your time between your two jobs?

A: I would say, this is not purely time management, it is “Prioritize Your Activities”. Once I prioritize my activities, I manage my tasks based on my time slots.

Q: What are some major projects you have worked on?

A: I have worked on various types of projects covering: Residential/Commercial Development, Development on Soft Soil, Geo-hazard (Landslide) Engineering, Forensic Study, Seismic Slope Analysis, Mining, Transportation, Oil and Gas, Power Transmission & Distribution, Telecommunication Tower Construction, DAM Engineering, Marine/Coastal Engineering, Permafrost Engineering, and Retaining Structure.

Q: Does your technical experience add value to your teaching methods? And do you share lessons learned from your projects with your students?

A: Honestly speaking, I found that there was a gap between the regular course outline and the industry practice. During my course preparation, I tried to include real case studies so that students can understand the practical scenario. This also helped to reduce the gap between the theory and practice, specifically in the field of geotechnical engineering. I tried to share my experiences in terms of story telling from case studies and lessons learned from mistakes.

I also tried to provide real problems to help them understand what could be expected in industry practice. I had a mixed experience during this journey of teaching. Some students appreciated the teaching methods as they understood the value of reducing the gap between theory and industry practice, while other students had always results and exam oriented mindset, and all they wanted to know whether these lectures would be in the exam since the text book didn’t include the extra topics!

Q: Do your students turn to you for advice on project budgeting, finding internships, and interviewing for jobs? Do you think an instructor has a role in guiding his/her students on such matters?

A: Besides teaching, I have been invited to give career talks on numerous occasions by the department of engineering and the memorial career center. Many undergraduate and graduate students always reach out to me in terms of getting advice on CV/RESUME preparation, tips for job interviews, and finding internships and overall guidance on industry job applications. I strongly feel that an instructor has a significant role in guiding his/her students on career development. Unfortunately, many instructors currently teaching in the university do not have enough industry experiences or are not interested enough to take extra time and make efforts to include the topics which could potentially reduce the gap between industry practice and theory! This is my personal opinion!

Q: What are your aspirations and next steps for your career?

A: In my professional career, I would like to see my myself as a Technical Guru in the field of geotechnical engineering. I would love to share my knowledge and experiences and extend my helping hands where needed and thus help not only students but also overall community. In a word, I do love to work for mankind, help others, and continue doing what I’m doing.

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