New Faculty Member, 2021-22
Joshua D. Wilbur
Lecturer, Mechanical and aerospace engineering
For Joshua D. Wilbur, having a degree in mechanical engineering is the equivalent of a degree in understanding how the things around us work.
In mechanical engineering courses, for example, students explore many areas of the field — from how soundwaves are produced to how combustion engines function to why metal countertops feel hotter or colder to the touch than wooden ones.
To Wilbur, mechanical engineering is an especially broad and critical area of study, and every day you can learn something new. In fact, as Wilbur notes, each time he teaches a topic, he is deepening his own understanding of the physical world and honing the lens through which he views his surroundings.
The field is constantly evolving, he says, and he is excited to integrate these new developments into his courses.
“I am looking forward to learning more about the cutting-edge of engineering education, then utilizing these methods in my classroom,” Wilbur says.
“Learning is difficult, but I believe that the proper approach can significantly lessen the burden on the learner and create an opportunity for effective, joyful intellectual growth,” he says. “With enough time and experience, I hope to develop some new and effective teaching methods myself.”
Wilbur’s areas of expertise are heat transfer and thermodynamics. He focused on heat transfer during his graduate studies, and used ideas from heat transfer, thermodynamics and energy conversion for his thesis project.
This fall, Wilbur will teach both MAE 241: Introduction to Thermodynamics and MAE 242: Introduction to Fluid Mechanics. He says students taking his courses should be prepared for more active in-class activities than they may have engaged in before. He believes this interactive approach leads to a stronger educational experience.
“The motto of my undergraduate institution was ‘Discere faciendo’ or ‘Learn by doing,’ and I believe this is the best way to learn anything,” he says. “I try to dedicate appreciable lecture time to individual and/or group problem-solving activities.”
Outside of the classroom, Wilbur is an avid walker. He likes to cook and has recently taken to making his own bread. Wilbur also spends a lot of time listening to music, dedicating a few hours a week to perusing online to look for new tunes.