June 2021

A Conversation with Jean-François Boland​

Jean-François Boland​

Electrical Engineering Department Head

École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)

The Basics

How many years have you been with your current institution? Professor since 2006 (15 years) and Department Head since 2015 (6 years)

Where were you born? Montréal

Where did you grow up? Québec, Canada


Academic Perspective

Why is ECEDHA important to you?

  • To learn and share best practices with a network of department heads

  • To get inspired and supported by a dynamic community

  • Quick access to the latest advances in ECE education (like the branding initiative  “The future is what we do”)

  • Be an active player in developing the next generation of ECE education for the new generation of future eng.

  • Make new friends among this family like community! Feeling like home without any pressure!


What are you most proud of with distance learning?

We created a virtual department and classroom using the Gather.town platform:


I used this platform to meet with students, be virtually present for Q&A, host virtual lab project supervision and host some social events with staff and students!


Was there a defining moment in your life that made you choose ECE as a profession?

I was at first enrolled in the police technical program and my father suggested that I change to electrical engineering. He observed that I enjoyed playing with lego and building complex cities. It is important to listen to our parents' advice!


My favorite class to teach is...

Design Methodology for electrical engineering. I like to help students develop their soft skills to lead for the first time an engineering project with a real industrial client.


Greatest piece of advice I can offer a student is...

Be perseverant, work hard but make sure to take the time to relax, breathe and live the university experience at its full potential by being involved in the student community. 


Beyond the Desk

Philosophy of life in a nutshell?

Take time to reflect on your profound purpose in life. “Why” are you doing what you are good at doing. My Why goes like this: “To create a stimulating universe so that each person finds his/her X”. It’s always so amazing to see my students getting closer to their X zone.


If there is one thing I learned in life, it’s...

It is important to stay mindful throughout the day and be grateful for what is happening in our life. I take a few minutes of break each hour just to mindfully breathe. I am much more focused and calmer for the next hour of work.


One thing people don’t realize about me is...

I am preparing myself to become a fulltime university executive manager.

My term as a department head is coming to its end next December. Therefore, last March 2021 an executive MBA program at the KEDGE Business School of Paris-Bordeaux in France. I will move with my family to the wonderful city of Bordeaux in January 2022 for one year to complete this program.