March 26,2024
504 Chen Ruiqiu Building

Teaching and Learning Forum (Global Version) Tenth Session

Title: USA Engineering Education and Developing Trends

Speaker: Martin W. Trethewey

Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, USA


Maintaining an engineering curriculum to be leading, and not following, is critical to educating our students. With today’s fast paced global technology development, it is becoming increasing challenging to do so. An engineering curriculum is already jam-packed with foundational knowledge in mathematics, sciences and discipline specific topics. A place for the new technology needs to be found and quickly incorporated into the curriculum. Industry can also desire students to have immediately applicable technical skills versus more fundamental background. Hence, a curriculum is being pulled in multiple directions and presents challenges to decide what topics to include and what to sacrifice. In this rapidly changing environment, an agile and adaptable curriculum is required. However, university systems tend to be methodical and do not excel in quick action, hindering rapid adaptation efforts. The seminar will explore curriculum and the evolutionary process in American engineering education to attempt to prepare students for their 21st century careers. A curriculum updating process to balance the conflicting education desires will be discussed. Education delivery methods are also evolving rapidly, with new opportunities beyond the traditional classroom lecture model. The “Flipped-Classroom” concept combines the best of in-person and remote delivery. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed both students and faculty worldwide to electronic delivery perhaps setting the stage for more usage. The Flipped Classroom could be particularly beneficial when introducing students to technical discussions in a second language, such as English, in preparation for the global workforce. This open discussion of the needs, challenges and opportunities currently facing engineering educators will hopefully provide ideas for the future development.


Martin W. Trethewey is a Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University, USA. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics from Michigan Technological University in 1982. He worked for General Motors Corporation and Union Carbide Corporation prior to entering academics. He was the endowed Arthur L. Glenn Professor of Mechanical Engineering and served as Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Programs. He is the recipient of education awards including the prestigious Penn State Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Society for Experimental Mechanics M.M. Frocht Award. In the 1990s he helped develop the nationally recognized, award-winning Penn State Learning Factory ( In the 2000s, he led expansion of student projects globally with partner universities in Asia, Europe and Australia. He served as the Director of the Penn State Global Engagement Network. He led the development of Penn State’s strategic international partnerships to leverage university complementarity in research and education.

M.W. Trethewey's research interests are in machine dynamics, vibrations, noise control and machine health diagnostics. Research topics include experimental noise and vibration analysis techniques, instrumentation, signal processing and system modeling. He has published numerous articles on these topics.

He served as the Associate Editor of Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing for many years. He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Date and Time:

March 26 (Tuesday), 2024, 12:00-13:00


504 Chen Ruiqiu Building


The School of Mechanical Engineering (ME), SJTU

Center for Teaching and Learning Development (CTLD), SJTU


Please sign up for this talk by 2pm on March 25, 2024.

Editor on Duty: Tao Qingxiao

Responsible Editor: Jiang Qianqian, Li Xinyu