David Sumner, Ph.D., P.Eng., Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan



In 2012, I was recognized as the "Engineering Educator of the Year" by the Saskatoon Engineering Society.  In 2013, I received the Provost's Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Engineering.
The Mechanical Engineering undergraduate program at the University of Saskatchewan features smaller class sizes (maximum enrollment limit is 90 students in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year ME classes) compared to many other programs in Canada.  The smaller enrollment increases valuable opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning, and student-student, student-graduate student, and student-faculty interactions which enhance student learning.  Our classes are small enough that students can know their professors and approach them with questions and for help, and small enough that our faculty can know nearly all of their students by name. Close interactions with graduate students employed as teaching assistants and lab demonstrators means undergraduate students are exposed to research and graduate education.  We have a strong laboratory program with extensive laboratory components in the second-year ME 214, ME 215, and ME 227 courses, three dedicated laboratory courses in third year and fourth-year (ME 318, ME 328, and ME 418), and technical electives with their own laboratory experiences (e.g., ME 471, ME 460, etc.).  This strong lab program benefits our graduate students who can gain teaching experience demonstrating labs (and, often, using the same equipment, apparatus, instrumentation, and software they are using in their own research) and improve their own learning and training through teaching others.  Our second-year ME 229 design course includes experiential learning through fabrication and testing in our new FabLab.  Our department has five full-time departmental assistants supporting our laboratory and design courses, three of whom are Professional Engineers with M.Sc. degrees.  Nearly all of our fourth-year design projects are real engineering design problems sponsored and supervised by Professional Engineers in industry, where students work directly with their client.


Regular Teaching Assignments

Other Teaching Responsibilities

Previously Taught Courses

ME 229 Introduction to Engineering Design

ME 335 Fluid Mechanics II

ME 417 Thermodynamics II

ME 471 Introduction to Aerodynamics

ME 871 Experimental Fluid Mechanics

Eng. Professional Internship Program (EPIP)

ME 318 Mech. Eng. Laboratory I - various labs

ME 328 Mech. Eng. Laboratory II - various labs

ME 418 Mech. Eng. Laboratory III - various labs

ME 495 Industrial Design Project - 2 project teams

ME 321 Engineering Analysis II

ME 898 Bluff-Body Aerodynamics

Teaching Links

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Student Evaluation of Educational Quality (SEEQ)

Avro Arrow / DC-3 at San Juan International Airport, Puerto Rico, July 2012 / Shanghai maglev train, September 2012
"Increased student numbers coupled with reduced resources have often resulted in larger class sizes, thus encouraging a reversion to traditional lecturing style of delivery and reduction in small group and tutorial contact - in short, less interactive teaching and learning." (Topping, K.J., 1996. The effectiveness of peer tutoring in further and higher education: A typology and review of the literature. Higher Education 32, 321-345.)

"With drives towards efficiency and cost-effective provision, in some disciplines small-group teaching has been reduced, or even phased out, in favour of lectures and resource-based learning (paper-based, online, or both).  Perhaps, however, the most significant reasons for using small-group teaching are the benefits students acquire which lie beyond the curriculum as expressed through intended learning outcomes; the emergent learning outcomes associated with small-group work help students to equip themselves with skills and attitudes they will need for the next stages of their careers and lives."  (Starting to Teach in Higher Education, Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London, 2010)


"Increasing enrollment has negative and significant effects on student satisfaction in...Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering."

Cheng, D.A., 2011. Effects of class size on alternative educational outcomes across disciplines. Economics of Education Review 30, 980-990.


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Last updated: September 16, 2013