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A Freshman Engineering Curriculum For A Bachelor Of Science In Engineering Program

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

FPD6 - First Year Curricula Development

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.43.1 - 13.43.14



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Paper Authors


Laura Ruhala University of Southern Indiana

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Laura Ruhala earned her BSME from GMI Engineering & Management Institute (now Kettering University) in 1991 (as Laura Wilson) and her PhD in Engineering Science & Mechanics from The Pennsylvania State University in 1999. She has three years industrial experience at General Motors, served as Director of Safety at Pride Mobility, and taught at Lafayette College. She has been an Assistant Professor rank in the Engineering Department at USI since 2002, and has developed and taught many of the freshmen engineering courses, including ENGR 107 (Intro to Engineering) and ENGR 108 (Intro to Design). Other courses she is teaching are Dynamics, Dynamics of Machinery, and Engineering Materials. She is a member of ASEE and is developing a biomechanics laboratory as a center for research in bone and joint care.

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Richard Ruhala University of Southern Indiana

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Richard Ruhala earned his BSME from Michigan State in 1991 and his PhD in Acoustics from The Pennsylvania State University in 1999. He has three years industrial experience at General Motors and three years at Lucent Technologies. He has been an Assistant Professor rank in the Engineering Department at USI since 2002, and has taught several of the freshmen engineering courses, including ENGR 103 and 104, and has been involved in curriculum development. Current course load includes Introduction to Design, Statics, Vibrations, Modeling Dynamic Systems, and Machine Design. He is a member of ASEE, the Acoustical Society of America, and the Institute for Noise Control Engineering, and does research in acoustics and mechanics.

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Eric Sprouls University of Southern Indiana

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Eric Sprouls has been the Chair of the Department of Engineering at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) since 2002, where he has been teaching engineering technology and engineering courses since 1977. He holds a MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. Prior to coming to USI he was at Dames & Moore Consulting Engineers in Denver, Colorado. He has been an Associate Professor of Engineering since 1983. Current course load includes soil mechanics, engineering materials and estimating, and geotechnical design. He also does consulting work for the local coal industry in the area of testing and underground mine design. He is a member of ASEE and the Society of Mining Engineers.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Fr eshman Engineer ing Cur r iculum for a Bachelor of Science in Engineer ing Pr ogr am

Abstract In 2002 a new Bachelor of Science degree program in Engineering was initiated at a regional university. Three freshman engineering courses were developed to allow incoming students immediate contact with both the engineering program and faculty. Students take Engineering Seminar during their first semester. The seminar is designed to expose students to engineering as a career, the various engineering specialties and details about the curriculum. The students also get to meet the faculty (and some upper class students) both during weekly presentations and during the annual picnic. The two other freshmen courses, Introduction to Engineering and Introduction to Design Introduction to Engineering introduces students to a systematic, engineering problem solving method. Problems have been selected to preview many of the engineering courses that the students will take as sophomores, including statics and circuits. Additionally students learn computer applications EXCEL, MATLAB and VISUAL BASIC. Finally, Introduction to Design, taken during their second semester, has been developed to include two parallel paths. The first path focuses on learning how to solve open-ended design projects while working in teams. These projects vary from semester to semester, but normally consist of a mechanical focus, a civil focus, and an electrical engineering focus which exposes students to the three areas of concentration that they must decide upon in their sophomore year. Also, a reverse engineering project is conducted early in the semester. The second parallel path in the Introduction to Design helps student develop skills in engineering communications that they apply in their design projects for this course as well as for future engineering design courses. Engineering communications include engineering graphics, technical writing, and oral presentations. Software that students learn in this course includes AutoCAD, Solid Edge, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Project. Designing this new curriculum gave faculty and administrators very unique opportunities. This paper will focus on the details and characteristics of the first-year curriculum, including recent curricular changes and student learning outcomes.

Intr oduction

The University of Southern Indiana (USI) started civil, electrical and mechanical engineering technology programs in 1975. These programs were accredited in 1980, and had helped to serve the needs of the region for over twenty years. However, due to changes in states professional licensing requirements, ABET requirements, and the changing needs of the regional employers, it became clear that a bachelor of science in engineering at a public university was needed. An internal study was done in May 2000, which recommended phasing out the three engineering technology degree programs (electrical, civil, and mechanical) and starting an engineering program1. In May 2002 the Indiana Commission for Higher Education approved degree-granting authority for USI to offer the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree. The University

Ruhala, L., & Ruhala, R., & Sprouls, E. (2008, June), A Freshman Engineering Curriculum For A Bachelor Of Science In Engineering Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4144

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