Jan. 9, 2014

From YouTube to associate dean

Innovator Dr. Ron Hugo receives appointment

Dr. Ron Hugo, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, has been appointed Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) for the term January 1, 2014 to July 1, 2016.

Hugo has long been recognized for innovation in education, receiving teaching awards (many of which originated with students), presenting lectures around the world and even delivering an entire Mechanical Engineering Thermodynamics course via YouTube.

He is the inaugural holder of the Schulich School of Engineering's Chair in Engineering Education Innovation, supported by the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation and he leads the Solving Global Problems Group Study program to Shantou University in China.

“Engineering education is evolving, and this both inspires and concerns me,” Hugo says. “Our graduates are entering into a world of rapid change where they will work on globally-distributed teams, need to apply powerful technology-leveraging tools with confidence, be able to solve complex problems that almost always span disciplines, and be able to compete for work with engineering graduates in other countries who accept 1/10 of what our graduates are currently paid.” 

“Given all of these dynamics, I could not possibly imagine a more exciting time for me to be able to serve the Schulich School of Engineering as the Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning).”

Hugo says there is a greater demand for performance, quality and accountability from educational institutions and engineering schools may be among the first to be assessed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) new benchmark to assess student learning outcomes.

“The Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) will provide direct quantitative data for assessing the quality of an institute’s educational system--something currently missing and only estimated through employer surveys--and in turn force institutes to intensify the attention they place on teaching and learning activities.”

Hugo takes on his new role after serving as head of the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering since November 2005. Dr. Marcelo Epstein has been appointed interim head of the department.

“I am grateful for the experience and perspective that I gained by serving as department head,” says Hugo.  “At the same time, I am excited to now be able to concentrate my energies on my new position.”