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A Classification System for Integrative Engineering Education

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Assessment and Liberal Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Jenn Stroud Rossmann Lafayette College

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Jenn Stroud Rossmann is Associate Professor and Department Head of Mechanical Engineering at Lafayette College. She earned her BS in mechanical engineering and the PhD in applied physics from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Lafayette, she was a faculty member at Harvey Mudd College. Her scholarly interests include the fluid dynamics of blood in vessels affected by atherosclerosis and aneurysm, the cultural history of engineering, and the aerodynamics of sports projectiles. She is the co-author (with Clive Dym and Lori Bassman) of the integrative mechanics textbook Engineering Mechanics: A Continuum Approach (CRC Press, Second Edition 2015), and the author of the Public Books essay series "An engineer reads a novel."

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Mary Roth Lafayette College

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Mary Roth is the Simon Cameron Long Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. She received her degrees in civil engineering from Lafayette College (B.S.), Cornell University (M.S.), and University of Maine (Ph.D.). She joined the faculty at Lafayette in 1991 and her research interests include risk assessment for earth retaining structures, site investigation methods in karst, and engineering pedagogy. She has authored or co-authored over 50 publications and has served as principal or co-principal investigator on eight grants from the National Science Foundation. At Lafayette College Dr. Roth is currently the Department Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering and has in the past served as Director of Engineering and Associate Provost for Academic Operations in addition to multiple faculty committee assignments. She has led campus-wide accreditation and assessment initiatives, implemented new faculty orientation programs, collaborated on the development of multiple proposals to private foundations, and coordinated interdisciplinary academic programs. She has received a number of awards in recognition of her scholarship and teaching including a Fulbright Scholarship in Norway, an American Council of Education Fellowship, and multiple teaching awards. Dr. Roth is a member of ASCE, ASFE, and ASEE. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi and is a licensed engineer in the states of Maine and Pennsylvania.

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A range of initiatives at our own and other institutions have been designed to achieve “interdisciplinary” engineering education and/or to “integrate” engineering with humanities, arts, and social sciences education. The motivations cited for these initiatives range from utilitarian goals supporting career development and professionalism to more holistic goals of citizenship and broad liberal education. Appropriate definitions and measures of “success” for such efforts vary, and faculty members involved in these efforts have concerns that narrow understanding of these efforts can marginalize these interdisciplinary and integrative experiences. The goal of this work is to support ongoing conversations in higher education about integrative and interdisciplinary education efforts by providing a shared language and classification system for understanding these efforts. This paper presents a classification system for integrative engineering education efforts and applies it to examples from our own institution. This system builds on work by others in education generally and in the area of interdisciplinary education. Classifying ongoing initiatives makes it possible to better understand the range of current integrative efforts and potentially identify gaps in institutional repertoires that may create barriers to effectively scaffolded student learning. The classification system also enables an examination of the alignment between types of integrative efforts and more traditional disciplinary education efforts, and supports improved leadership in these integrative efforts and the articulation of more meaningful methods for measuring their success.

Rossmann, J. S., & Roth, M. (2017, June), A Classification System for Integrative Engineering Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27449

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