I take an engineering design approach to teaching, guided by atomistic learning objectives (the specifications) and informed by cognitive science and education psychology (the mechanics of learning).

Engineering is a tactile discipline; theory and practice are ideally brought together by the hands, not just because many of the products of our discipline are human-scale, but because the fundamental concepts–forces and motion–are experienced by the body. As an educator, I am committed to creating learning experiences which join theory and practice, tell empowering stories about the people, history, and context of engineering, and help students develop the diverse skills indispensable to the modern engineer.

MAE 3270: Mechanics of Engineering Materials

Instructor - Summer 2020, Cornell University

Student voices

"This is my favorite class that I have taken so far. It might be because of the course material, but I think that Dr. Ford has done a spectacular job adjusting to the online system."

"The collaborative labs were my favorite part. I can say with certainty that this has been one of the most informative courses I've taken so far at Cornell and one of my favorites overall."

"He was continuously coming up with creative ways to exhibit concepts of the course that each student could replicate in their own homes."

EXCEL Engineering Analysis I

Instructor - Summer 2015/16/17, Northwestern University

  • Developed and taught original course on numerical methods with MATLAB
  • Created lesson plans based on large, publicly-available datasets

Student voices

"Great teacher. He taught us a lot in a short span of time."

"I loved MATLAB because of Ford."

ME 398: Senior Capstone Design Project

Head Teaching Assistant, Co-lecturer - 2016 - 2018, Northwestern University

Student voices

"Matt went above and beyond to help his students. He is also very knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects, and he is able to explain/teach things very well. I learned a lot of random engineering things from Matt that weren't even directly related to our project."

"Matt is one of the great TA's of McCormick. He cares immensely about the students and his passion is obvious"

"Matt is incredibly intelligent and was a great help. He was my team's client and made the whole capstone experience much better by being appropriately helpful without interfering, and always willing to provide knowledge both about the project and generally about overall engineering things."

Selected guest lectures

  • Materials Selection, Human-Centered Product Design (Northwestern University)
  • Role of Predictive Sciences in Capstone Projects, (Northwestern University)
  • Engineering Statics, (Northwestern University)

Shared resources