William Predebon, Ph.D. 

Professor and Chair
Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics  
Michigan Technological University

"Practice-Based Curriculum Transformation: Strategies-Tactics-Resources"

Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 at 2 p.m.
Rogers Hall 226


The Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University recently went through a major curriculum revision. It began at a department retreat when the Department Chair proposed a major curriculum revision to “Prepare out Students for a Complex and Changing World”. It had been ten years since the last curriculum revision. The curriculum revision began in 2011 with various studies, such as ASME Vision 2030, used to motivate the process. Education leaders were invited to campus for presentations and discussions. A Curriculum Revision Committee was set up with representative faculty members and academic professionals from the department academic groups. A vision and learning objectives were established and agreed upon by the faculty. The revised curriculum was approved by vote of the faculty in spring 2014. The revised curriculum was phased in over two years and all students will be on the revised curriculum in spring 2017. The curriculum revision process, including strategies, tactics, resources (funding and faculty time) will be presented.


William Predebon joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics in 1975. He was associate chair from 1993-1997 and has been chair of the department since 1997. Under his watch, the department has made great strides in conducting interdisciplinary research, growing the doctoral program, expanding research funding, and updating the curriculum and laboratories. He also brought diversity to both the faculty and student body.

Predebon is a champion of discovery-based student learning. He led efforts to create the Michigan Tech Learning Resource Center for Self-Paced Programmed Instruction, the ME-EM Engineering Learning Center, as well as a distance learning doctorate degree in mechanical engineering, and a Design Engineer Certificate program with General Motors in 2000. More than six hundred GM employees earned the certificate. In 2010 Predebon started a Peace Corps Master’s International program in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech, the first and only one of its kind in the nation.

A fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Predebon has received numerous honors, including membership in Michigan Tech’s Academy of Teaching Excellence; the Outstanding Service Award for his work with the student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers; the first annual Martin Luther King Award by the Black Student Organizations; and the Distinguished Teaching Award. He received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of Colleges, and the Michigan Tech Honorary Alumni Award.

He advised both the Nordic and Alpine ski teams and Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, and  chaired building committees for both the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building and the Great Lakes Research Center. His research in wave propagation and ceramics has involved experimental, analytical, and computational elements. He has been granted two US patents. His research has been supported by government agencies including the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Lab, and by industry partners such as Honeywell, Alcoa, and General Dynamics. Predebon is a captain in the US Army Reserves and is a member of four honor societies.