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University of Mary

Tektronix Supports the Hamm School of Engineering's Innovative Learning Approach

Tomorrow's engineers are key to solving the twenty-first century's most complex and formidable challenges. For educators, this means graduating engineers with the knowledge, skills, and competencies they need to become effective contributors in the workplace.

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The University of Mary’s Hamm School of Engineering was established to meet the increasing local demand for engineers following the North Dakota oil boom. In just five years since its foundation, the engineering school has earned a reputation for rigorous course work, innovation, and multidisciplinary experiential learning that has already led to successful internships and careers for its students.  

The school’s teaching approach includes hands-on, open-ended projects where students learn problem-solving, and engineering fundamentals, while experiencing the satisfaction of seeing their designs take form in working models. Lab Coordinator, Ricardo da Costa Aparecido talked about how important this approach is for preparing students for industry: "Open-ended projects are beneficial because they prepare students for everything and anything… They also give students confidence to explore, experiment, and innovate.” 

Choosing the right lab equipment and ensuring every student has access to modern tools is crucial for active learning, motivation and giving students the freedom to experiment. 

Dr. Terry Pilling, Dean of the Hamm School of Engineering explains: “One thing I really like about the way Tektronix design their equipment is it’s designed so there are a lot of fail-safes. When we educate our students, we don't lay it out for them in a step-by-step way. We believe that trial and error and trial by failure are very instructive ways to teach. It also shows them that they don't have to be ultra-cautious. They can try new things without being afraid that they are going to break something. With a Keithley power supply, for example, you can hook it up any way you want and it's not going to fry. It has fail-safes in there for when the student inevitably wires it wrong." This method of teaching is accompanied perfectly with Tektronix’s well-known, easy-to-use interface. 


Partnering with Tektronix

In 2018, Da Costa Aparecido reached out to Tektronix Key Account Manager, Jake Graves, who worked with him to determine the school’s needs, evaluate, advise and ultimately complete a donation of Tektronix equipment. In 2022, the partnership continued, with the Hamm School of Engineering and Tektronix working to equip the university’s second lab. For da Costa Aparecido, there were several considerations when it came to choosing a test and measurement equipment partner.

1.     Tektronix Equipment is Preferred in the Industry

"Tektronix is a leading manufacturer of electronic measuring equipment," said da Costa Aparecido, "so if you are in any high-end company, they are going to be using Tektronix equipment.” This gives students the advantage of being already familiar with the equipment they find in industry." 

2.     Easy to use. Easy to learn. Easy to maintain 

Tektronix equipment is known for its easy-to-use, easy-to-learn interface. The TBS1000C and TBS2000B Digital Storage Oscilloscopes have built-in education features including a HelpEverywhere® system that enables students to learn about measurements on the oscilloscope itself as well as an option for educators to disable some advanced features.  Students can thus learn circuit design fundamentals without being overwhelmed with features when they start.  “As the student progresses through their degree, they can learn more of the advanced functionality and features. It can track the student all the way through their degree,” said Pilling. This is also beneficial for the Lab Manager's schedule, making it easier to supervise and teach exercises. Da Costa Aparecido noted that the equipment also requires less time to maintain. "The build quality of the Tektronix products is second to none and helps me as the lab coordinator have less downtime and repair expenses.” 

3. Enhances the school's reputation

Hamms’ Dean, Pilling explained how learning with modern equipment is important to inspire students.

"When you walk into the laboratory, it's like walking into the control room at NASA or SpaceX.” The equipment looks good and works even better. “Tektronix Function Generators and Oscilloscopes have really advanced functionality” allowing students to learn and experience real-world instruments. A well-equipped lab attracts prospective students and is important for ABET, a Worldwide Accreditation Organization that verifies engineering schools meet the quality standards of the profession to ensure its students are prepared for the industry when they graduate. Using Tek equipment prepares students for the professional world with experience on tools they will continue to use throughout their career.


Visit Tektronix bench solutions for university engineering labs for more information on our recommended bench configurations.