Prof. Durgin’s engineering teaching philosophy is best summarized as rigorous analytical exercise married to compelling real-world applications. It is also an important goal of Prof. Durgin’s to approach each class with a sense of professionalism and to help students feel that they are participating in an extremely important field of knowledge. He has won numerous teaching awards, including best junior professor in ECE as voted by the senior class (2005 and 2013), the Women in Engineering faculty award (2005), and the Class of 1940 Howard Ector Teaching Excellence award (2007).
A signature aspect of Prof. Durgin’s classes is the administration of real-life, cutting edge design projects that are used to illustrate fundamental concepts in applied electromagnetism. Projects include the design of a space solar power system, the location of criminals based on actual cellular records, competing for the Google lunar X-prize, range competitions for lighting up RF energy-harvesting LEDs, and space mission designs for seismic monitoring of Venus – to name just a few examples. These are team projects, administered with competitive evaluations. Final results are curated online through student-created websites. Anecdotally, many of Prof. Durgin’s past students have related that these project curations helped them to land their first jobs in technology. He has incorporated active learning and aspects of “flipped” classrooms long before these ideas had acceptance in higher education.