College of Engineering and Natural Sciences Department Chair and Harry H. Rogers Professor of Mechanical Engineering
John Henshaw has spent the last 22 years of his career at The University of Tulsa. His connection to TU dates back to his childhood when his father worked in the business office. He studied materials engineering and math at Vanderbilt University before working in a Pittsburgh, Pa., research laboratory for the Nuclear Navy.
After a year in Pennsylvania, Henshaw returned to Oklahoma to accept a position with Phillips Petroleum in Bartlesville. The move allowed him to continue working in industry while taking master’s degree courses part time at TU.
“I loved the challenges of working to make products better and safer for companies,” Henshaw said. “That’s where I became interested in specific areas of engineering including composite materials.”
Henshaw eventually returned to graduate school full time as a doctoral student at The University of Delaware where he received a Ph.D. degree in Materials Engineering. When he graduated in 1990, TU’s mechanical engineering program jumped on the opportunity to welcome Henshaw back as a professor.
“I enjoy the college campus environment and working with students is a great privilege — it’s the best part of my job,” he said.
In addition to his department chair duties, Henshaw is very passionate about the two classes he teaches: the Senior Project class with Prof. Steve Tipton and Properties of Materials. His research areas of interest include materials engineering, engineering design, sustainable energy, and alternate fuel transportation; and he collaborates with Ford Motor Company on several projects.
Henshaw has written two books about science and technology, A Tour of the Senses: How Your Brain Interprets the World (2012) and Does Measurement Measure Up?: How Numbers Reveal and Conceal the Truth (2006), and hopes to publish a third in 2013.
“I’ve discovered writing is my niche in engineering, and I love writing for a general audience,” he said.
Henshaw is also one of only a few devoted bicycle commuters in Tulsa. Rain or shine, he has ridden his bike to campus for the past 22 years.
“When I moved back to Tulsa, I wanted to buy a house close enough to campus so I could commute on my bike,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and a good workout.”