Jeremy Keys, Curriculum Innovation Award Recipient

Curriculum Innovation Award Recipient, 2023

Re-inventing Mechanical Engineering 240: Increasing engineers’ inductive learning through product archaeology

Jeremy Keys is an assistant professor of instruction in the McCormick School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Administered by the Office of the Provost, the award recognizes and supports faculty who have innovative ideas for new courses, methods of instruction and components of existing classes. 

Keys plans to use the award to revamp an existing class, “Mechanical Engineering 240,” by introducing “product archaeology” labs in which students will disassemble consumer products to learn about the embedded functions of their key mechanical components — a bit like a dissection in biology, but for household products.

Doing so will improve students’ appreciation for common mechanical assemblies as they interpret how engineers achieve desired mechanical functions. During the course, students also will redesign a load-bearing component of an existing consumer product and use advanced 3-D printing methods to create and share their prototypes.

Keys joined Northwestern in the Fall of 2022 as a teaching-line faculty member, having just completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University, where he studied the biophysical mechanisms that control cancer cell migration using microfluidic devices. In addition to “MechEng240,” he teaches the senior capstone course for mechanical engineers as well as “Engineering Analysis 3,” a system dynamics course for second-year engineering students.

The award comes with $12,500 in funding to be split between innovation development ($7,000), stipend ($5,000) and the faculty member’s home department ($500). The two honorees also will be recognized during a reception in the spring.

Northwestern Now, January 25, 2023

Click here for the program from The Alumnae of Northwestern University's 2023 Annual Meeting