Thomas F. Schubert, Jr., Ph.D., P.E.
Professor of Electrical Engineering

Thomas Schubert arrived at the University of San Diego in August, 1987 as one of the founding faculty of the new USD Engineering Program.  In 1993 he was promoted to Professor of Electrical Engineering.  In January 1997 he became the Chairman of the Department of Engineering in, a position that evolved into Director of Engineering Programs in 1999.  He served in that position through the end of 2003.  Prior to coming to USD, he was at the University of Portland (1977-78 & 1981-87), and at Portland State University (1978-80). 

Before turning to the academic world, Professor Schubert spent four years in the aerospace industry at the Space and Communications Group of Hughes Aircraft Company designing, analyzing, and testing weather and communication satellite systems.  Specifically his assignments included:  the application of optimization techniques to the design of shaped-beam antennas, feasibility studies for the design of sensor arrays for low-orbiting, earth observation satellites, and the systems test of the optical sensor and its data link for a synchronous weather satellite. . 

In 2002 he was awarded a USD University Professorship “In recognition of outstanding, balanced career contributions supporting the mission and goals of the University” -- the highest recognition of faculty excellence at USD.  Other recent awards include:

·       The prestigious Robert G. Quinn Award given to honor excellence in engineering education by the American Society for Engineering Education: “In recognition of outstanding contributions in providing and promoting excellence in engineering experimentation and laboratory instruction”(June 2012).

·       The Outstanding Engineering Educator Award given “In grateful recognition of outstanding academic contributions and service to the Engineering Profession and the Community” by the San Diego County Engineering Council (February 2012).

·       The Faculty Mentor of the Year Award given “In appreciation and recognition of your dedication to our McNair Scholars” given by the University of San Diego Trio McNair Scholars Program (May 2012).

Dr. Schubert is an active member of IEEE and ASEE. He has been elected to Eta Kappa Nu and the Order of the Engineer. He is a Registered Professional Engineer (EE, #12630) in the State of Oregon.

Professor Schubert received his PhD in Engineering from the University of California at Irvine in 1972.  He also holds an MS degree in Engineering ('69) and a BS degree in Engineering ('68) from UCI.  As such, he was a member of the first graduating class in engineering and the first person conferred with three engineering degrees from UCI.  His graduate studies were primarily focused of the mathematical description of electromagnetic wave propagation, specifically the propagation of Fourier images through layered anisotropic media. 

Dr.  Schubert was the second of the two founding engineering faculty that developed, beginning in 1987, a unique 9-semester program leading to dual BS/BA degree for all engineering students at the University of San Diego (USD).  As a member of the first engineering graduating class at UC Irvine (and the first triple engineering degree recipient), he was intrigued by the prospect of seeing the development of a new engineering program from the faculty side.  Engineering at USD is unique program, characterized by a large liberal arts component (hence the BA) as well as a good balance between theory and hands-on application of engineering principles (hence the BS).  As originally developed the program contained 20 required engineering lecture courses, 13 of which had an associated laboratory component as well as a year-long capstone design course:  approximately 162 semester units in a 9-semester format.  Dr. Schubert chronicled the early years of development in the paper:

·       Schubert, T.F., Jr.; "Melding engineering into a liberal arts tradition: a unique nine-semester BS/BA electrical engineering program," Frontiers in Education Conference, 1997. 27th Annual Conference. 'Teaching and Learning in an Era of Change'. Proceedings. , vol.2, no., pp.887-890 vol.2, 5-8 Nov 1997


As a member of the founding team, Dr. Schubert was responsible for development of many of the laboratory courses in the electrical engineering curriculum.  He specified the instrumentation and equipment requirements for the two initial electrical engineering labs that served the entire program and was the first instructor to teach six of the EE core courses (five with a laboratory component which he also was the first to teach).  The lab exercises that he developed in those early years still form the basis of the lab experiences for each of those five courses.  Over his career at USD, Dr. Schubert has, among the engineering faculty at USD, the broadest diversity of engineering courses taught.  Educated in EM wave propagation and Fourier optics, his teaching has focused on Electric Circuits and Electronics with subspecialties in communication theory and practical E&M, with adventures into electrical power, motors, materials, and digital logic design.  He is a regular instructor at all levels from introductory freshman courses to the capstone design sequence and senior EE elective courses.


Dr. Schubert feels that education extends beyond the boundaries of university campuses.  As part of his efforts to bring useful information to all engineers, he has published a number of articles in engineering encyclopedias and handbooks.

·       Schubert, T., Kim, E. (2011). Frequency Response and Bode Plots (2nd ed., vol. 1, pp. 6-1 through 6-20). CRC Press: The Industrial Electronics Handbook, 2nd Ed./CRC.

·       Schubert, T. (2010). Bode Plots Wiley, Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering John Wiley & Sons New York, NY:

·       Schubert, T. (2007). Feedback Amplifiers (vol. 7, pp. 14 pages). New York: Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

·       Schubert, T. (2006). Feedback Amplifiers (vol. 2, pp. 1418-1432). New York: Encyclopedia of RF and Microwave Engineering


Dr. Schubert is a strong proponent of the complete engineer.  As a dual-career individual (he is a professional classical musician – a bassoonist), he feels that an engineering education is not complete without sincere and enriching breadth of study.  One recent adventure into that arena was his recent study-abroad course (Advanced Electronic Circuit Design – a senior elective) taught in Australia in a 3-week format.  Here students not only studied an advanced technical topic, but also the widened their understanding of global engineering by learning what it means to be an engineer in Australia.  This experience (along with a similar experience of a mechanical engineering colleague) is chronicled in a recent conference paper and journal article:

·       Schubert, T.F.; Jacobitz, F.G, “Compact International Experiences: One Path to Expanding Student International Awareness through Short-Term Study-Abroad Elective Engineering Courses,”  Proceedings Of The 2011 ASEE Annual Conference

·       Schubert, T.F.; Jacobitz, F.G, “Compact International Experiences: One Path to Expanding Student International Awareness through Short-Term Study-Abroad Elective Engineering Courses,” Online Journal for Global Engineering Education (accepted for publication).


In addition, Dr. Schubert has explored synergies between seemingly dissimilar fields.  He recently organized a symposium:  Music and the Sciences: Synergies among Musical Arts, Math, Science, and Engineering” as part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science - Pacific Division 92nd meeting in June 2011.  This symposium was highly successful with presenters from both the technical and artistic communities.


Dr. Schubert’s efforts to educate the complete engineer have influenced the engineering curriculum at USD.  In order to establish a presence in the USD General Education (GE), the Engineering program created two courses:  Technology and Society and Introduction to Electro-Technology.  The first course was designed to satisfy the USD GE requirement in Classic and Contemporary Issues (CCI). As such it was one of the first of these courses on campus and enjoyed significant enrollment until the CCI requirement was abandoned in 1990. The second course satisfies a GE requirement as a Physical Science course.  Dr. Schubert was one of the first instructors for Technology and Society and was part of the team that developed Introduction to Electro-Technology course.  He has also taught the course in engineering communications (oral and written), and has had students individually study engineering ethics with him.


As a result of a general dissatisfaction with the de-emphasis of practical aspects of electronic circuit design in many electronics textbooks, Dr. Schubert, with E.M. Kim developed and published an electronics textbook,

·       Active and Non-Linear Electronics, John Wiley, 1996. 

The text has a significant emphasis on design and simulation as a design verification tool.  This text is currently under revision for a new edition.  Some of his other innovations in the laboratory/simulation domain were chronicled as:

·       Schubert, T.F., Jr.;  "The use of a simple computer math package to demonstrate complex communication systems principles," Frontiers in Education Conference, 1994. Twenty-fourth Annual Conference. Proceedings , vol., no., pp.34-38, 2-6 Nov 1994
doi: 10.1109/FIE.1994.580464

·       Schubert, T.F., Jr.;  "A heuristic approach to the development of frequency response characteristics in the design of feedback amplifiers," Frontiers in Education Conference, 1996. FIE '96. 26th Annual Conference., Proceedings of , vol.1, no., pp.340-343 vol.1, 6-9 Nov 1996
doi: 10.1109/FIE.1996.569976

·       Kramer, K. A., Schubert, T.F., Jr., Demonstrating Complex Communication Systems Principles Using Electronic Courseware and a Simple Computer Math Package, Proceedings of the 1998  ASEE Annual Conference

·       Schubert, T.F.; Kim, E.M.; , "A Short Study on the Validity of Miller's Theorem Applied to Transistor Amplifier High-Frequency Performance," Education, IEEE Transactions on , vol.52, no.1, pp.92-98, Feb. 2009
doi: 10.1109/TE.2008.919808

·       Schubert, T.F., Jr., Lord , S.M., Tawy, D. M.,. Alsaialy, S.D; A LabVIEW Interface for Transistor Parameter Analysis:  An Opportunity to Explore the Utility of Computer Interfaces, Proceedings of the 2004 ASEE Annual Conference

·       Schubert, T. F., Jr., "Simulation of the Effects of Companding on Quantization Noise in Digital Communication Systems", IEEE Transactions on Education, Vol.37, No.1, pp. 47-50, February, 1994.

·       Schubert, T.F., Jr.; , "A quantitative comparison of three Bode straight-line phase approximations for second-order, underdamped systems," IEEE Transactions on Education,, vol.40, no.2, pp.135-138, May 1997
doi: 10.1109/13.572327
Kim, E.M.; Schubert, T.F., Jr.; , "A comparison of experimental results to those in “evaluation of bipolar junction transistor transconductance in practical applications”,", IEEE Transactions on Education, vol.40, no.1, pp.114-115, Feb 1997doi: 10.1109/13.554677

·       Kim, E.M.; Schubert, T.F., Jr.; “Emulating industrial printed circuit board design practice by designating the course instructor as the fabricator: a cost effective design experience for electronics circuits laboratories at the junior level”  Proceedings of the 2010 ASEE annual conference (Design in Engineering Education Division best paper finalist)

More recently he has been interested in reintroducing principles of electrical power, motors, and energy conversion into the engineering curriculum at the sophomore level.  That development has led to working with subfractional horsepower (< 5W) motors; digital synthesis of low-voltage, variable-frequency, 3-phase power; and a novel dynamometer to measure output mechanical power.  These efforts are chronicled in:

·       Schubert, T.F.; Jacobitz, F.G.; Kim, E.M.; , "Exploring the Basic Principles of Electric Motors and Generators With a Low-Cost Sophomore-Level Experiment," Education, IEEE Transactions on , vol.52, no.1, pp.57-65, Feb. 2009
doi: 10.1109/TE.2008.917195

·       Schubert, T.F.; Jacobitz, F.G.; Kim, E.M.; , "Exploring Three-Phase Systems and Synchronous Motors: A Low-Voltage and Low-Cost Experiment at the Sophomore Level," Education, IEEE Transactions on , vol.54, no.1, pp.67-76, Feb. 2011
doi: 10.1109/TE.2010.2043844

·       Schubert, T.F.; Jacobitz, F.G.; Kim, E.M.; “An introductory electric motors and generators Experiment for a sophomore-level circuits course”, Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE annual conference (Division of Experimentation and Laboratory Oriented Studies Best Paper Award)

·       Schubert, T. Jacobitz, F., Kim, E., "Introducing the Principles of Electromechanical Energy Conversion with a Low-Cost Experiment for Lower-Division Students," American Association for the Advancement of Science, 89th Annual Meeting of the AAAS Pacific Division, Waimea HI. (June 2008).

·       Schubert, T.F.; Jacobitz, F.G.; Kim, E.M.; “Synthesis of low-voltage three-phase power for use in low-cost motor and systems experiments at the Sophomore level”  Proceedings of the 2010 ASEE annual conference


Another area of interest has been centered on the engineering design process and how to best communicate that process to undergraduate students.  Two studies have recently been carried out by a team of instructors teaching freshman students.   The studies focus on the engineering design process and how it is taught and whether the presence of a design exemplar enhances or limits the creativity of novice design students.  Results have been chronicled in two conference papers and a journal article.

·       Schubert, T., Jacobitz, F., Kim, E.; “The Engineering Design Process: An Assessment Of Student Perceptions And Learning At The Freshman Level,” Proceedings of the 2009 ASEE annual conference

·       Schubert, T., Jacobitz, F., Morse, M., Ngo, T.;  “The Impact of a Prototype Exemplar on Design Creativity: A Case Study in Novice Designers,” Proceedings of the 2012 ASEE annual conference

·       Schubert, T., Jacobitz, F., Kim, E. (2011). “Student Perceptions and Learning of the Engineering Design Process: An Assessment at the Freshmen Level,” Research in Engineering Design/Springer, vol. 23, no 3, pp. 177-190 (2011)


Dr. Schubert served department chair (which became Director of Engineering Programs during his tenure) from January 1997 to December 2003.  As he moved into that position the department of engineering had just added its second program:  Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE).  Some of the major occurrences during the period of his leadership were:

·       Tripled the number of engineering students – dramatically improved the retention rate

·       Hired 4 new engineering faculty (2 ISE, 1 EE, 1 ME) – obtained authorization for 6 additional new faculty positions (only 1 counted in the four hired).

·       Obtained authorization for 2 additional engineering staff positions (technician and secretarial)

·       Doubled the laboratory space allotted to engineering (major renovations to Loma Hall)

·       Obtained research space for engineering (albeit remotely located)

·       Obtained authorization for a new Mechanical Engineering program (the 3rd program)

·       Purchased all ISE laboratory equipment and began purchase of ME lab equipment.

·       Obtained initial ABET accreditation for ISE program – 3 successful ABET visits (EE and ISE).

Dr. Schubert was one of the two major authors for the ME program proposal and responsible for presenting the case to the Dean, Provost, and President.


Dr. Schubert is currently the faculty advisor for Eta Kappa Nu (the Electrical Engineering honor society).


Office: Loma 331.
Phone: (619)260-4892
Fax: (619)260-2303

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