Profile image of Rob McHenry

Mr Rob McHenry





Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


School of Engineering


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Manufacturing) Honours, University of Melbourne, 2009
Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne, 2009


Rob joined Deakin University in the School of Engineering at the end of 2019 after more than 10 years working at Ford Motor Company in various roles with powertrain development and validation. Rob made the move to academia with a goal to to help prepare students to thrive beyond their transition to professional work. To do this Rob works hard to strengthen university relationships with industry to improve student employability development and outcomes across all School of Engineering courses. 

In his time at Ford, Rob completed many roles within Powertrain Development, including as a lead engineer in delivering Noise, Vibration and Harshness attribute performance, as well as Vehicle and Engine Testing and Development, and delivery of Powertrain Systems Integration to support customer needs and reliability.

Prior to joining Ford, Rob graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2009 with a Bachelor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (Honours), and Bachelor of Science (Physics).

Rob is now enrolled in a PhD in Engineering Education at Deakin under the supeversion of Associate Professor Siva Krishnan. Rob's PhD program compliments his work as a lecturer, and focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of engineering practice from various perspectives to help inform engineering education practices. Rob's aim is to use his research to postiively impact the teaching and learning practice of other educators, and ultimately improve graduate employability and readiness for work.

Rob's work and research in engineering education has also allowed him to reach into the world of short course and microcredential development. Currently leading a project with Hycel in partnership with the Deakin Global Studio to create short courses related to emerging skill and knowledge area needs in support of Australia's growing Hydrogen and new energy technology sectors, as well as supporting other short-course projects within Deakin.

To keep his technical mind working, Rob supports mobility related projects with Hycel. Working with students and industry partners to evaluate various technology options for medium-heavy duty transport applications for their performance and potential viability in particular use cases. Rob also likes to work with industry partners, students and other lecturers to help embed real world engineering problems into both formal and informal student learning experiences for the benefits of all parties involved.

Read more on Rob's profile

Biography summary

Rob is an emerging researcher with significant industry expertise who delivers integrated scholarship of teaching and learning (T&L) for the benefit of students and staff within the School of Engineering and Faculty of Science, Engineering, and Built Environment (SEBE). Rob generates research outputs that lead innovations enhancing student employability by improving curriculum relevance in the areas of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and Engineering Professional Practice (EPP). He frequently collaborates with industry, students, and university colleagues to define and introduce a holistic approach to the ongoing development of learning and teaching practices. Rob is currently completing a PhD in engineering education that focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of engineering practice from the perspectives of practitioners and educators. Rob also supports Hycel with short-course development, and small technical projects with students related to Hydrogen and new technology options in various medium-heavy duty mobility applications.

Research interests

  • Integrated scholarship of teaching and learning (T&L) for the benefit of students and staff that leads to innovations enhancing student employability and curriculum relevance in the areas of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and Engineering Professional Practice.
  • Deeper investigations of engineering practice for the purposes of informing engineering education approaches that enhance staff capacity and awareness to foster and develop students' engineering knowledge and skills in context.
  • Using market and practitioner informed approaches to new course and program design across both tradtional and non-traditional (short course and microcredential) offerings.
  • Support with mobility related research in the areas of medium to heavy duty transport, particulary evaluating new and emerging technology options.


2022 - Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)

2022 - Member, Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE)

2023 - Member, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)

Teaching interests

  • Engineering Professional Practice
  • Embedding industry perspectives into curriculum to provide context for student learning
  • Continuous Professional Development and community learning
  • Product Development 
  • Mechanical Systems


Media appearances

Deakin DTeach, Tales of Teaching Online, Episode 59: Working with students as Instructional Designers in a professional practice unit


Deakin University: Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Employability, 2021

  • Deakin University Award for Teaching Excellence
    This Award recognises the Information Technology and Engineering Capstone project team for outstanding contribution to enhancing the employability skills for students through authentic industry experiences and innovative assessment design.


PhD - Investigating the perceptions of educators and practitioners in engineering practice

Rob's PhD programme is focussed on gaining a deeper insight into engineering practice to inform approaches to engineering education, and enable him to support other educators in their teaching and learning professional development.

Research shows in Australia that the majority of engineering educators have not spent timely and meaningful amounts of time working as engineers outside of an academic research environment (Cameron, Reidsema, and Hadgraft, 2011). Others such as Trevelyan (2008, 2019), Patil and Codner (2007), Conlon (2008) have also shown that to get the best learning outcomes for students to enhance their employability, it is important to include the wider social context in their learning of engineering skills, knowledge and processes. This is something Rob also observed in his own practice, and recognises as one of the bigger challenges for engineering educators to introduce into learning and assessment design.

So with this challenge and aim in mind, Rob's PhD programme aims to address the following research questions, applying ethonographic methods of data acquisition (observation and interview) and analysis:

  1. What is engineering professional practice?
  2. How do engineering practitioners percieve and approach engineering practice?
  3. How do engineering educators percieve and approach engineering practice?
  4. How can we use insights from comparing the understanding of engineering practice between practitioners and educators to inform future innovation and approaches to engineering education


Student Instructional Designer Program

In collaboration with Associate Professor Siva Krishnan, Rob is leading a research program that delivers integration of professional practice and career education curriculum into all School of Engineering Courses, and provides a platform to contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning in engineering education and Work Integrated Learning on a national scale.

The Student Instructional Designer (SID) program focuses on informing professional practice curriculum and developing online learning resources by working with students and industry as partners. The program commenced July 2020, providing internship opportunities to students who could not source placements due to COVID. In May 2021, this program was awarded $20,000 of faculty funding to accelerate delivery of its outcomes aligned to the SEBE Employability Guiding Plan (SEGP).

By the end of 2022 this program has provided more than 15 student internship opportunities, and supported over 6 units with co-designed engineering professional practice learning resources. One student led a research activity and co-authored a conference paper for AAEE 2022 presenting his evaluation and learning from the experience. Three students have gone on to become ambassadors with YEA and/or Study Geelong, and at least five students have secured full time employment soon after completion and attributed their time on this program to their success and level of preparation for work.


Hycel - Hydrogen short-course development

In collaboration with Deakin Global Studio, Rob is leading a research and educational design project sponsored by Hycel to create short-course offerings (CPD, micro-credentials) that support workforce development in necessary skills and knowledge related to Australia's emerging Hydrogen economy. Delivery of courses is expected to begin in the first half of 2023. Watch this space.


Filter by


A conceptual professional practice framework for embedding employability skills development in engineering education programmes

R McHenry, S Krishnan

(2022), Vol. 47, pp. 1296-1314, European Journal of Engineering Education, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Collaborating with students and industry as partners to co-design embedded-WIL education resources

Rob McHenry, Siva Krishnan

(2022), pp. 55-60, ACEN 2022 : Beyond 2022: Creating the future with Work Integrated Learning (WIL) : Proceedings of the Australian Collaborative Education Network 2022 conference, Melbourne, Vic., E1


Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Design and delivery of a Graduate Certificate of Secondary Design and Technologies.

Dr John Cripps Clark, Dr Clara Usma-Mansfield, Dr George Aranda, Dr Matt Jennings, A/Prof Peta White, Mr Rob McHenry, Dr Seamus Delaney, A/Prof Siva Krishnan, Dr Jo Raphael, A/Prof Julianne Lynch, Prof Linda Hobbs

DETVic Grant - Research - Department of Education and Training Victoria

  • 2024: $107,324
  • 2023: $522,584


No completed student supervisions to report