Dr. Susan McCahan is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. She received her B.S. (Mechanical Engineering) from Cornell University. After completing her undergraduate degree, she worked as an Associate Engineer with RCA/GE before returning to university to complete a M.S. and Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prof. McCahan is currently the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education at the University of Toronto. Previously, she had the position of Vice Dean, Undergraduate and before that the Chair of First Year in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto.
Prof. McCahan is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her contributions to Engineering Education. In addition, she has received several major teaching and leadership awards including the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, and the Medal of Distinction in Engineering Education from Engineers Canada. She is a member of the President’s Teaching Academy at the University of Toronto, having received the President’s Teaching Award in 2007.
Prof. McCahan’s research is in the field of Engineering Education which is aligned with her administrative portfolio at the University. She has published in the area of Universal Instructional Design and more recently on learning outcomes for skill development and valid assessment methods for measuring learning outcomes. Her research examines the learning environment as a designed system, and takes an engineering design approach to reimagining the learning experience. Her current administrative portfolio revolves around reimagining the undergraduate academic experience across the university and touches into pedagogical innovation programs, educational technology and academic data systems, course evaluations, work-integrated learning and pathway programs.
Prof. McCahan has taught courses in thermodynamics and engineering design. She continues to teach a large introductory engineering design course which she helped to create a decade ago. The course, “Engineering Strategies and Practice”, uses a community engaged learning approach making it one of the largest enrolment courses in North America to utilize this pedagogical methodology. In 2007 the teaching team for the course won the prestigious Alan Blizzard Award for collaborative teaching. The teaching team recently published a textbook for introductory engineering design courses based on their experience developing the course and teaching design to first year students.