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A Model for Initiating ABET-Accredited Engineering Degree Programs using Distance Education

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.64.1 - 22.64.15



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Paper Authors


Darrin S. Muggli Benedictine College

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Dr. Muggli is a Professor and Chair of the Engineering Department at Benedictine College. Previously, he was a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of North Dakota, where he taught both traditional and distance courses for ten years. Dr. Muggli received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1998. He has taught a broad range of chemical engineering and foundational general engineering courses.

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Brian Tande University of North Dakota

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Brian Tande is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of North Dakota. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware. In addition to engineering education, his research interests are in polymer science, biobased plastics and composites, and membrane separations.

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Using Distance Education to Initiate Engineering Degree Programs Darrin S. Muggli Department of Engineering, Benedictine College Atchison, KS, 66002 Brian Tande Department of Chemical Engineering, University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND 58202 The new engineering department at Benedictine College (BC) has developed and begun toimplement a model that uses distance education to establish rapidly and economically bachelor degreeengineering programs at institutions that would otherwise not have the resources to do so. This paperwill describe in detail the model that can be replicated at thousands of similar colleges across thenation as well as present the lessons learned during the first two years of model implementation. The model has three distinct phases, each of which can be the final phase depending on theresources and goals of those institutions that adopt it. In Phase 1, students pursue an ABET-accreditedengineering degree through a distance engineering education provider such as the University of NorthDakota’s Distance Engineering Degree Program (UND DEDP) concurrently with a complementarydegree in science or mathematics from the on-site institution (e.g. BC). As the number of engineeringstudents increases, BC Engineering faculty will be added to teach more on-site courses and fewercourses will be supplied via UND DEDP. Students will gain hands-on experience during summerengineering laboratory courses at UND. Thus, Phase 1 implementation of the model provides collegeswith an extremely low-cost option that allows students to remain on campus while pursuing ABET-accredited degrees in one of the four major engineering disciplines (chemical, civil, electrical, ormechanical engineering). This process will lead to a smooth transition into Phase 2, in which BC willoffer its own general engineering degree, establish an engineering department, and develop on-sitelaboratories. The new general engineering degree will serve as the BC companion degree to thediscipline-specific engineering degrees issued from UND. The BC general engineering degree willalso be accredited by ABET once it produces its first graduate. In Phase 3, BC will developsequentially the discipline-specific engineering programs (chemical, civil, electrical, or mechanical)starting with the discipline that has been most successful in Phase 2. This involves hiring additionalfaculty, developing curricula, and establishing additional laboratory courses for that discipline. Thisprocedure will then be repeated sequentially for the remaining engineering disciplines that warrantfurther commitment of resources. In Phase 3, the relationship with UND (and/or other distanceengineering education providers) can be maintained to augment the BC engineering program byenhancing course offerings and electives. The laboratories required in Phase 3 can be established byusing the experiments already developed in Phase 2. Thus, this paper outlines a strategy in which schools can minimize start-up costs and onlycommit resources to expand engineering programs that already have proven to be successful. Themodel establishes three distinct phases of implementation, each of which can be maintained long-termdepending on the resources and goals of schools that adopt it. The engineering department at (BC) hascompleted its second year of implementation of the model and this paper will present the lessonslearned during that time.

Muggli, D. S., & Tande, B. (2011, June), A Model for Initiating ABET-Accredited Engineering Degree Programs using Distance Education Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17346

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