Dr. Ted Hubbard of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been awarded the Wighton Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards recognising engineering education in Canada. This is only the second time in the Fellowship’s 31-year history that a Wighton Fellow has been named in one of the Atlantic provinces.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering promotes a hands-on, design-focused approach to education, with practical projects that teach students how to get from an idea to a design to a finished product. Dr. Hubbard has been instrumental in the development and refinement of this curriculum for the past 20 years, using everything from KitchenAid® mixers to LEGO™ sets to illustrate theoretical concepts and practical design techniques.

One of Dr. Hubbard’s machine design courses combines a familiar pedagogical technique—machine dissection—with an atypical object of study—the KitchenAid® mixer—to form a holistic approach to teaching students about the functions of gears. Using a model selected specifically because it contains every gear type covered in the course, Dr. Hubbard has students gradually disassemble the mixer’s drive train. Along the way, they not only touch and feel all of the various types of gear they have been learning about theoretically, but also see how they function in a real-world context.

In a recently introduced upper-year course, Dr. Hubbard has employed two-axis computer numerical control (CNC) router machines (X-Carves) to teach prototyping and design concepts. In contrast to 3D printers, the X-Carves are imperfect: they consistently produce particular inaccuracies for a given set of “perfect” Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD) inputs. Dr. Hubbard exploits these inaccuracies to introduce students to the fundamentals of prototyping and engineering manufacturing details. Since its introduction, this course has quickly become the most in-demand senior-year technical elective offered to Mechanical students in the past two decades.

Dr. Hubbard’s impact on the Mechanical Engineering curriculum at Dalhousie extends well-beyond the courses he teaches, as he has been instrumental in promoting the design-focused approach to education that has become the Department’s trademark. Dr. Darrel Doman, director of the Mechanical Department and the man who nominated Dr. Hubbard for the fellowship, credits his influence with his colleagues for the Department’s 20% increase in hands-on lab work over the past five years.

“It’s not just that Ted’s the best at this style of education,” says Dr. Doman, “it’s that he makes the rest of us better.”

Nor have Dr. Hubbard’s efforts on behalf of engineering education gone unnoticed by students: his nomination was supported by a petition signed by over 200 current and graduating mechanical engineering students. Many current and former students also submitted letters of support for his nomination, including a Rhode’s Scholar and a start-up CEO who credits Dr. Hubbard with helping him turn his entrepreneurial ideas into reality.

“I’m proud of this concerted effort the graduating class made on behalf of Ted’s nomination,” says Dr. Doman, “it’s a heart-warming demonstration of the impact he has on our students.”

Dr. Hubbard’s impact on such a broad cross-section of engineers, whether students or teachers, is a testament to his dedication to his students, his passion for his profession, and his role as a leader in the advancement of engineering education.

Theresa Anne Salah  –  News
Monday, July 6, 2020
A group of students from Dalhousie’s Department of Mechanical Engineering are developing a novel device to help patients who have experienced a pneumothorax, also known as a collapsed lung.
Theresa Anne Salah  –  News
Monday, July 6, 2020
Four Mechanical Engineering students from Dalhousie University have teamed up with the IWK Health Center in Halifax to develop a new MRI simulator to help children conquer their fear of getting an MRI.
Theresa Anne Salah  –  News
Monday, May 25, 2020
An interdisciplinary team based out of the Faculty of Engineering is combining their expertise to create 3D-printed face shields for front-line healthcare workers.
Engineering Communications  –  News
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Engineering student Kirk Drabble is determined to maintain the Sexton community in these unprecedented times.
Engineering Communications  –  News
Monday, May 4, 2020
Engineering Communications  –  News
Friday, March 27, 2020
Dalhousie Engineering student Chris White’s recent PhD work has now won him the 2019 Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation Grant.
Engineering Communications  –  News
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Engineering Communications  –  News
Sunday, March 8, 2020
On International Women's Day 2020, the Dalhousie Faculty of Engineering shines a spotlight on the contributions of our female students, staff, and faculty members.
Engineering Communications  –  Events
Friday, March 6, 2020
The Emera ideaHUB welcomes Dr. Giovana Celli and Veronica Merryfield as the latest participants in the IDEA Speaker Series on Friday, March 6.
View past items