Dr Tom Goldfinch

BE Hons (Mechanical), PhD (Engineering Education)
Senior Lecturer in Integrated Engineering
Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies

J12 - The School of Information Technologies
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 8627 6611
Fax +61 2 9351 2111

Website School of Civil Engineering

Research interests

Engineering has an enormous impact on society, and is fundamentally driven by the needs and wants of people. Despite this, it is often seen as a purely technical profession. Engineering education specialist Dr Tom Goldfinch researches the social and cultural aspects of engineering design and practice, and how they are - and might better be - reflected in engineering education.

"Engineering education needs to be grounded in the realities of engineering practice, which include social expectations and economic and environmental constraints. Universities have a responsibility to ensure that graduate engineers are appropriately prepared for a highly collaborative and complex profession where the technical challenges are often the easiest to resolve and the social and cultural ones are the hardest.

"I am passionate about engineering education that doesn't shield students from the complexities of the real world - where design parameters are constantly moving, technologies are ever evolving, project goals and priorities must be explored and understood, and stakeholders must be identified and relationships formed.

"I became interested in this field when, as a mechanical engineering undergraduate, I became frustrated that while much of my degree was engaging and real-world-focused, many units of study were presented in traditional lecture-and-textbook format, with only a distant connection to the world of engineering practice that I was already familiar with.

"I am particularly passionate about understanding the interactions between engineering and Australian Indigenous cultures. Contemporary Australian engineering methods and practices have largely evolved from European cultural influences. Only recently have other perspectives - including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures - begun to be considered. More needs to be understood about how such alternative worldviews might contribute to the advancement of engineering.

"I've been working in the field of engineering education development and research since the mid-2000s. When I joined the University of Sydney in 2017, the opportunities for collaboration and scaling up of my research were immediately apparent. The University of Sydney is big place and highly connected. Researchers are well supported and presented with many open doors."

Associations

  • President, Australasian Association for Engineering Education

Awards and honours

  • 2016 – Australasian Association for Engineering Education Award for Engineering Education Engagement
  • 2016 – Best Paper, European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) Annual Conference
  • 2009 – University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellors Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Goldfinch, T., Carew, A., Thomas, G. (2011). Students Views on Engineering Mechanics Education and the Implications for Educator. In Steven Grainger and Colin Kestell (Eds.), Engineering education: an Australian perspective, (pp. 171-181). Brentwood, UK: Multi-Science Publishing Co Ltd.

Journals

  • Goldfinch, T., Prpic, J., Jolly, L., Leigh, E., Kennedy, J. (2017). Australian engineering educators� attitudes towards Aboriginal cultures and perspectives. European Journal of Engineering Education, 42(4), 429-444. [More Information]
  • Nikolic, S., Suesse, T., McCarthy, T., Goldfinch, T. (2017). Maximising resource allocation in the teaching laboratory: understanding student evaluations of teaching assistants in a team-based teaching format [In Press]. European Journal of Engineering Education. [More Information]
  • Lee, M., Nikolic, S., Vial, P., Ritz, C., LI, W., Goldfinch, T. (2016). Enhancing Project-Based Learning Through Student and Industry Engagement in a Video-Augmented 3-D Virtual Trade Fair. IEEE Transactions on Education, 59(4), 290-298. [More Information]
  • Thomas, G., Henderson, A., Goldfinch, T. (2011). The Influence of University Entry Scores on Student Performance in Engineering Mechanics. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 17(1), 19-25. [More Information]

Conferences

  • Nikolic, S., Goldfinch, T., Lee, M., Ritz, C. (2016). Addressing misconceptions about engineering through student-industry interaction in a video-augmented 3D immersive virtual world. 2016 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Piscataway: IEEE. [More Information]
  • McLauchlan, C., Ciufo, P., Goldfinch, T. (2016). An electrical motor and drives laboratory to prepare students for industrial practice. 2016 IEEE International Conference on Power System Technology (POWERCON 2016), Piscataway: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. [More Information]
  • Goldfinch, T., Jolly, L., Prpic, J., Leigh, E. (2016). Australian Engineering Educators� Perceptions of Indigenous Cultures and Challenges of Minority Inclusion. 44th SEFI Annual Conference, Finland: Tampere University of Technology.
  • Goldfinch, T., Hollis, X. (2016). Current Engineering Education and Training Practices on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. 27th Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) Annual Conference (AAEE2016), Australia: Australasian Association for Engineering Education.
  • Nikolic, S., Suesse, T., Goldfinch, T., McCarthy, T. (2015). Relationship between Learning in the Engineering Laboratory and Student Evaluations. 26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2015), Melbourne, Victoria: Deakin University.
  • Leigh, E., Goldfinch, T., Dawes, L., Prpic, J., McCarthy, T., Kennedy, J. (2015). Shifting the Focus. Incorporating knowledge about Aboriginal engineering into main stream content. 26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2015), Melbourne, Victoria: Deakin University.
  • Goldfinch, T., Ilango, A., Roland, A., Willis, J. (2014). Australian Indigenous Culture and Heritage in Engineering Project Planning and the Implications for Engineering Education. 25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE), New Zealand: Massey University.
  • Leigh, E., Goldfinch, T., Prpic, J., Dawes, L., Kennedy, J., McCarthy, T. (2014). Shared Values: Diverse perspectives � engaging engineering educators in integrating Indigenous engineering knowledge into current curricula. 25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE), New Zealand: Massey University.
  • Goldfinch, T. (2013). Embracing complexity in engineering education: A way forward for developing intercultural competency. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) International Forum 2013, USA: American Society for Engineering Education.
  • Goldfinch, T., Kennedy, J. (2013). Understanding Indigenous consultation and engagement in Engineering education. 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2013), Gold Coast: Australasian Association for Engineering Education.
  • McCarthy, T., Goldfinch, T. (2012). Assessing students understanding of the concept of free body diagrams using online tests. Edulearn 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Spain: International Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED).
  • Goldfinch, T., Leigh, E., Dawes, L., Gardner, A., McCarthy, T. (2012). Engineering Across Cultures: New learning resources for intercultural competency in engineering. 2012 Australian Association of Engineering Education Conference (AAEE), Australia: AaeE.
  • Prusty, G., Russell, C., Ford, R., Ben-Naim, D., Ho, S., Vrcelj, Z., Marcus, N., McCarthy, T., Goldfinch, T., Ojeda Rabanal, R., et al (2011). Adaptive tutorials to target Threshold Concepts in Mechanics � a community of practice approach. Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE) 2011, Australia: Engineers Australia.
  • Goldfinch, T., Layton, C. (2011). Observational research methods to explore intercultural competence in engineering. Research in Engineering Education Symposium 2011, Spain: Universidad Politecnica de Madrid.
  • Goldfinch, T., Layton, C., Gardner, A., Thomas, G., Henderson, A., McCarthy, T. (2011). Observing cultural interactions in engineering design projects. Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE) 2011, Australia: Engineers Australia.

Report

  • Kennedy, J., Goldfinch, T., Leigh, E., Prpic, J., McCarthy, T., Dawes, L. (2016). A Beginners Guide to Incorporating Aboriginal Perspectives into Engineering Curricula.
  • Goldfinch, T., McCarthy, T., Layton, C., Leigh, E., Abuodha, P., Dawes, L., Gardner, A., Thomas, G., Henderson, A. (2013). Exploring intercultural competency in engineering.
  • McCarthy, T., Carew, A., Gardner, A., Goldfinch, T., Henderson, A., Thomas, G. (2011). A Pro-active Approach to Addressing Student Learning Diversity in Engineering Mechanics.

2017

  • Goldfinch, T., Prpic, J., Jolly, L., Leigh, E., Kennedy, J. (2017). Australian engineering educators� attitudes towards Aboriginal cultures and perspectives. European Journal of Engineering Education, 42(4), 429-444. [More Information]
  • Nikolic, S., Suesse, T., McCarthy, T., Goldfinch, T. (2017). Maximising resource allocation in the teaching laboratory: understanding student evaluations of teaching assistants in a team-based teaching format [In Press]. European Journal of Engineering Education. [More Information]

2016

  • Kennedy, J., Goldfinch, T., Leigh, E., Prpic, J., McCarthy, T., Dawes, L. (2016). A Beginners Guide to Incorporating Aboriginal Perspectives into Engineering Curricula.
  • Nikolic, S., Goldfinch, T., Lee, M., Ritz, C. (2016). Addressing misconceptions about engineering through student-industry interaction in a video-augmented 3D immersive virtual world. 2016 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Piscataway: IEEE. [More Information]
  • McLauchlan, C., Ciufo, P., Goldfinch, T. (2016). An electrical motor and drives laboratory to prepare students for industrial practice. 2016 IEEE International Conference on Power System Technology (POWERCON 2016), Piscataway: (IEEE) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. [More Information]
  • Goldfinch, T., Jolly, L., Prpic, J., Leigh, E. (2016). Australian Engineering Educators� Perceptions of Indigenous Cultures and Challenges of Minority Inclusion. 44th SEFI Annual Conference, Finland: Tampere University of Technology.
  • Goldfinch, T., Hollis, X. (2016). Current Engineering Education and Training Practices on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. 27th Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) Annual Conference (AAEE2016), Australia: Australasian Association for Engineering Education.
  • Lee, M., Nikolic, S., Vial, P., Ritz, C., LI, W., Goldfinch, T. (2016). Enhancing Project-Based Learning Through Student and Industry Engagement in a Video-Augmented 3-D Virtual Trade Fair. IEEE Transactions on Education, 59(4), 290-298. [More Information]

2015

  • Nikolic, S., Suesse, T., Goldfinch, T., McCarthy, T. (2015). Relationship between Learning in the Engineering Laboratory and Student Evaluations. 26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2015), Melbourne, Victoria: Deakin University.
  • Leigh, E., Goldfinch, T., Dawes, L., Prpic, J., McCarthy, T., Kennedy, J. (2015). Shifting the Focus. Incorporating knowledge about Aboriginal engineering into main stream content. 26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2015), Melbourne, Victoria: Deakin University.

2014

  • Goldfinch, T., Ilango, A., Roland, A., Willis, J. (2014). Australian Indigenous Culture and Heritage in Engineering Project Planning and the Implications for Engineering Education. 25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE), New Zealand: Massey University.
  • Leigh, E., Goldfinch, T., Prpic, J., Dawes, L., Kennedy, J., McCarthy, T. (2014). Shared Values: Diverse perspectives � engaging engineering educators in integrating Indigenous engineering knowledge into current curricula. 25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE), New Zealand: Massey University.

2013

  • Goldfinch, T. (2013). Embracing complexity in engineering education: A way forward for developing intercultural competency. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) International Forum 2013, USA: American Society for Engineering Education.
  • Goldfinch, T., McCarthy, T., Layton, C., Leigh, E., Abuodha, P., Dawes, L., Gardner, A., Thomas, G., Henderson, A. (2013). Exploring intercultural competency in engineering.
  • Goldfinch, T., Kennedy, J. (2013). Understanding Indigenous consultation and engagement in Engineering education. 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2013), Gold Coast: Australasian Association for Engineering Education.

2012

  • McCarthy, T., Goldfinch, T. (2012). Assessing students understanding of the concept of free body diagrams using online tests. Edulearn 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Spain: International Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED).
  • Goldfinch, T., Leigh, E., Dawes, L., Gardner, A., McCarthy, T. (2012). Engineering Across Cultures: New learning resources for intercultural competency in engineering. 2012 Australian Association of Engineering Education Conference (AAEE), Australia: AaeE.

2011

  • McCarthy, T., Carew, A., Gardner, A., Goldfinch, T., Henderson, A., Thomas, G. (2011). A Pro-active Approach to Addressing Student Learning Diversity in Engineering Mechanics.
  • Prusty, G., Russell, C., Ford, R., Ben-Naim, D., Ho, S., Vrcelj, Z., Marcus, N., McCarthy, T., Goldfinch, T., Ojeda Rabanal, R., et al (2011). Adaptive tutorials to target Threshold Concepts in Mechanics � a community of practice approach. Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE) 2011, Australia: Engineers Australia.
  • Goldfinch, T., Layton, C. (2011). Observational research methods to explore intercultural competence in engineering. Research in Engineering Education Symposium 2011, Spain: Universidad Politecnica de Madrid.
  • Goldfinch, T., Layton, C., Gardner, A., Thomas, G., Henderson, A., McCarthy, T. (2011). Observing cultural interactions in engineering design projects. Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE) 2011, Australia: Engineers Australia.
  • Goldfinch, T., Carew, A., Thomas, G. (2011). Students Views on Engineering Mechanics Education and the Implications for Educator. In Steven Grainger and Colin Kestell (Eds.), Engineering education: an Australian perspective, (pp. 171-181). Brentwood, UK: Multi-Science Publishing Co Ltd.
  • Thomas, G., Henderson, A., Goldfinch, T. (2011). The Influence of University Entry Scores on Student Performance in Engineering Mechanics. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 17(1), 19-25. [More Information]

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