“Engineers make the world a better place by translating the laws of science to overcome the limitations that nature has imposed on humanity. Engineering has truly enabled us to have dominion over much of the world around us.” – Dr. Nathaniel Hunsu, Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Engineering Education Transformational Institute
Nathaniel Jesuwame Hunsu
Badagry, Lagos state, Nigeria
What did you study in college and where did you earn your degrees?
I have BS in Electronics and Computer Engineering from Lagos State University, an MS in Project Management from the University of Sunderland, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Washington State University, Pullman, WA.
What brought you to UGA?
After finishing my doctorate, I knew I wanted to be in academia. I was invited for campus visits in Texas and Georgia. However, I found coming to Georgia more appealing! Secondly, the assistant professor role in Texas would have kept me doing research in a college of education, but my role in Georgia would bring me back to engineering; that was an opportunity I could not let go of. So, I am here in Georgia and at UGA. I have loved every day of my being here.
What are your research interests and what motivated you to pursue this area of study?
My research interests are learning and cognition, students’ engagement in their learning contexts, and assessing learning and engagement in engineering classrooms. In addition, I conduct studies that examine student engagement and academic resilience in engineering education. I am also very much into systematic review and meta-analysis, and quasi-experimental research methods. What motivated me? I feel in my heart that I want to understand what makes students engage in learning with their hearts.
What current or new research projects do you currently have happening in your lab?
I am currently working with Dr. Kun Yao and Dr. Adel Al Weshah to develop a concept inventory for electric circuit analysis funded by NSF. We also aim to empower them to use concept inventories effectively to identify students’ misconceptions.
How long have you been an instructor in engineering and what inspires you to teach or do research in your field?
I have been an instructor in engineering for close to 6 years. I enjoy teaching, even on my off days. To teach comes naturally to me.
What research accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
The research accomplishment I have liked the most is my meta-analytic review of the use of audience response systems to facilitate student engagement and learning. However, I see bigger accomplishments in the nearest future with what I am currently doing with colleagues in the college.
What skills do you think are most important for students to succeed in engineering and what methods do you use to ensure the students you engage with learn the skills they need?
I believe metacognition, self-regulation, and resilience are the most essential skills students need to succeed in engineering. Metacognition because students need to have an awareness of their thoughts and knowledge (know what you know and what you do not know); self-regulation because you should be able to calibrate your strength, push yourself and know when to ask for help; resilience because when you fail, you can fail forward pick yourself up again, and keep running. I often provide my students with opportunities to write guided self-reflection in my statistics course.
What and/or who encouraged you to become a professor in engineering?
My father, who was an engineer, began to call me a ‘professor’ when I was 7 or 8 years old. Throughout my growing years, my peers called me prof in school. These instilled in me the thought of growing up to become a professor. So I had always known that becoming a professor was in my future.
How does engineering make the world a better place?
Engineers make the world a better place by translating the laws of science to overcome the limitations that nature has imposed on humanity. Engineering has truly enabled us to have dominion over much of the world around us.
What do you like to do in your pastime/hobbies?
I spend much of my pastime around my family. I am committed to my wife, Mabel, and our four boys. Beyond that, I spend the rest of my pastime doing church ministry, studying, and expounding the Bible.
What is one of your favorite places in Athens?
Even though I have been to many places in Athens (restaurants, parks, and so on), my favorite place is home.