Retired engineering prof receives national honour

Gordon Stubley wins Canadian Engineering Education Association’s Lifetime Service Award

By Angie Docking Faculty of Engineering

Gordon Stubley is the 2022 recipient of a lifetime service award from the leading engineering and design education organization in Canada.

Stubley, a retired mechanical engineering professor, Waterloo Engineering alumnus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus, becomes the fifth engineering educator honoured with a Lifetime Service Award from the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA) .

He is the only Waterloo professor to receive the CEEA award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to the development of engineering education in Canada.

"Throughout my four decades in the profession, I have worked to be a helpful and supportive citizen of the wider Canadian engineering education community to help engineering education excel - at Waterloo and beyond," Stubley said.

"It means a lot to me that colleagues across the profession appreciate my work to develop the best possible learning environment for Canadian engineering students."

Changing the culture

Over his 40-year career, Stubley helped transform student learning at the University of Waterloo and was recognized several times for his dedication to teaching.

In 2017, he won a 3M National Teaching Fellowship, awarded by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and 3M Canada. He also received several provincial teaching awards, as well as the University’s highest teaching honour, the Distinguished Teaching Award, in 2009.

During his tenure as the inaugural Associate Dean of Teaching (2012-2018), Stubley was credited with reinvigorating Waterloo Engineering’s teaching culture. Some of his achievements included leading evidence-based teaching workshops for faculty development, revamping teaching assistant training and effectively improving course design and delivery.

"It’s hard to imagine someone more deserving of this award than Gordon," said Mary Robinson, Engineering’s Associate Dean of Outreach, Equity and Diversity. "He has played a significant role in shaping Canadian engineering education by tirelessly advocating for inclusion and driving meaningful changes in the classroom to help students excel."

’Transforming complicated problems into simple solutions’

Prior to serving as Associate Dean of Teaching, Stubley served as the Academic Director of WatPD-Engineering (2010-2013), the Director of First Year Engineering (1995-2000), and the inaugural Teaching Chair for the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering (2006-2010).

Stubley said he believes his role as a teacher has always been to help students realize the limitations of their present understanding, feel safe giving up the security of their present view, and build a new and broader framework for successfully tackling engineering challenges.

"I have always enjoyed transforming complicated problems into simple solutions," he said. "It is this challenge that makes educational work so crucial and so fulfilling.

"My greatest satisfaction has always come from seeing students or colleagues achieve new levels of understanding and to go on to apply that understanding to build success in their life endeavours."

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