2024 Engineer Magazine



‘I think it might change my life’ “The course has really been touching a lot of ideas that have been on my mind

Two University of St. Thomas leaders teaching a new interdisciplinary course hope it will become one

lately related to work and leisure, like integrating my work, creating into a vocation and using my leisure time as a way to allow me to receive the

of the university’s signature offerings. Director of the Center for Catholic Studies Michael Naughton & School of Engineering Dean Don Weinkauf are co-teaching Mission of the Engineer.

gifts and graces from the rest of my life that can inform my work,” Mechanical engineering major Aidan Willard ‘24 said. “Honestly, I think it might change my life.” William Howell ’25, who is majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in Catholic studies, said the course brings together seemingly disconnected topics. “Engineering classes teach you a lot of valuable skills. They teach you the techniques behind learning new skills and how to pick up new skills,” Howell said. “This class is sort of a synthesis of how you become a better whole person rather than just a walking skill set.” “This class presents a way of thinking and a way of life that is not just about answering these questions and you’re set. They are lifelong questions that you’re going to have to think about and reevaluate your thoughts,” Howell said.

“In a professional career, engineers and other business people are going to be immersed in a system of systems,” Weinkauf said. “We are encouraging our students to develop a contemplative life that allows them to see the bigger picture. We want to enrich them with an understanding of why they are doing something in their work.” Naughton and Weinkauf designed the course to be an integration of faith and reason, making connections between liberal arts courses and professional courses. “One of the great strengths of a university is its specialization, yet one of its great weaknesses is specialization,” Naughton said. “The danger with specialization is that it often disconnects from other forms of knowledge.”

Page 20 engineering.stthomas.edu

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