Olivier Patrick Lefebvre


I teach environmental engineering and it is a wonderful yet difficult task because the field is at the frontier of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. My role and duty as an environmental teacher is to take out the complexity of the task and open my students' mind to the beauty of this field, to make them understand how the history and evolution of life over billions of year have shaped the world into what it is today and how important it is to preserve it for the next generations. It is also my duty to remind them how our intelligence and development can either be a threat to our future or the solution to protect it. As an engineer/scientist, I believe that the preservation of our environment is the most important issue of the XXIst century. As an educator, it is therefore essential that I adequately train my students so that they are in the best position to tackle this challenge. At the end of the day, my students should be skilled engineers, as well as good citizens, aware of the environmental processes of the world and capable to carry out the right message to the community through their personal and professional actions.

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Dr Olivier LEFEBVRE is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research work is mainly in the fields of electrochemical technologies, advanced oxidations processes, industrial wastewater treatment, technology transfer and water reuse. He is also an adjunct Professor at the Research Institute of Mines and Environment of the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and a management committee member of the specialist group on water reuse, within the International Water Association. An agronomic engineer by formation, Olivier obtained his Ph.D. from Supagro Montpellier in 2005, on a collaborative work between the Narbonne laboratory of the French National Research Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Anna University in Chennai, India. The topic was related to biological treatment of tannery wastewater.

Teaching Strengths

  • Widely acknowledged for his ability to teach passionately, clearly and make knowledge accessible for all.
  • Introduced active learning components in a level 2000 environmental engineering module through serious gaming, mini-projects and classroom response systems.
  • Created an authentic learning environment to engage solid waste engineering students with projects in partnerships with schools all over Singapore to increase waste awareness and develop initiatives towards a circular economy.
  • Contributed to module development as co-creator of a new course for first-year environmental engineering students with the so-called “Engineering Principles and Practice” (EPP) modules, designed to motivate engineering students and limit attrition.
  • Secured three teaching grants to conduct classroom action research.

About being a part of the Academy…

It is an honour for me to join the community of the Teaching Academy and I really look forward to working with like-minded colleagues to improve the way that we teach and learn at NUS. I think that my most distinctive trait as a teacher is probably my drive to serve the best interests of my students. I thrive to engage them in active learning and to provide them with an authentic learning environment as much as possible. Ultimately, my ambition is for my students to learn to think critically, question everything and develop their individuality.

Teaching Awards / Accolades

  • Engineering Educator Award (2018)
  • Annual Teaching Excellence Award (2018)  
  • Engineering Educator Award (2017)     
  • Annual Teaching Excellence Award (2017)   
  • Annual Teaching Excellence Award (2016)     
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