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Adding Flexibility and Hands-On Experiences while Minimizing Sequential Gaps in the ME Curriculum

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Mechanical Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.137.1 - 24.137.6



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Paper Authors


Matt Gordon P.E. University of Denver

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Dr. Matt Gordon is Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering at the University of Denver. His research areas include numerical and experimental plasma physics, chemical and physical vapor deposition, electronic packaging, and bio-medical engineering. He has over 100 publications including 1 book chapter. Courses taught include undergraduate finite elements, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and engineering economics and ethics, and graduate finite elements, numerical methods, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, plasma fundamentals and gas dynamics.

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Bradley S. Davidson University of Denver

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Bradley Davidson is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and director of the Human Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Denver. He holds a BS in civil engineering from Tennessee Tech, an MS in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from the Virginia Tech–Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. His research in musculoskeletal biomechanics emphasizes measurement of human movement and motor control, with applications in the lumbar spine stability, total knee arthroplasty, and Parkinson’s Disease.

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Corinne Shirley Lengsfeld University of Denver

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Dr. Lengsfeld is a Professor at the University of Denver. She received her bachelors, masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Irvine in 1992, 1993, and 1997 respectively. She specializes in interdisciplinary research in meso and micro-scale fluid systems. Her work has included investigation of biopharmaceutical delivery and processing, inhaled aerosol and deposition and optimization of complex fluid systems. She has developed an automated CFD-based optimization process that is currently aiding in the development of gas-turbine blades, solid state lasers, the next generation aerosols for reliable drug deposition to the lung, improved shipping and vial filling practices for biopharmaceuticals. Most recently her research group has moved to fluid-solid modeling to incorporate structural influences in the optimization of the fluid systems.

Her work has been cited 300 times by more than 242 articles resulting in a web of science H-index of 10 and an average impact factor of 2.57. During her 13 years at the University of Denver she has received ~$1.39 Million in external research funding and ~2.62 Million in external educational funding from agencies like NSF, DHHS, DOL, DOD, State of Colorado, Keck Foundation among others.

Dr. Lengsfeld serves as editorial in chief for the journal Atomization and Sprays.

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Adding Flexibility and Hands-On Experiences while Minimizing Sequential Gaps in the ME CurriculumThe Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at the University of Denverrecently undertook a strategic planning process to identify critical changes to the programneeded to address how the modern BSME degree is applied or will be utilized in thefuture. Three initiatives were implemented as a result of this process: (1) increase thenumber of hands-on experiences to differentiate from online curricula, (2) add flexibilityin general and in technical electives to allow students to tailor their educationalexperiences to their long term goals, and (3) minimize gaps between courses intended tobuild on each other. Hands-on experiences now exist in all but one quarter of our four-year curriculum. The experiences incorporate open ended design problems as well asthoughtfully constructed laboratory experiences. Flexibility has been added by allowingstudents to select three to four courses from pre-approved math and science courses, byopening up the timing of these courses as well as general educational requirements withinthe four year curriculum, by doubling the number of mechanical engineering technicalelectives available, and by allowing students to take technical electives from any of ourthree engineering programs (Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering).Moreover in collaboration with the University of Denver’s Law School, our students cannow satisfy a technical elective requirement by taking the Law School’s Introduction toIntellectual Property course. Finally the faculty worked to identify all follow-on coursesand rearranged the curriculum to minimize the gaps between one class to the next.Our objectives are to increase ratio of the number of students depositing to the programto the number of students accepted to the program, to increase the persistent rate ofstudents, and to increase the depth of learning as measured by the Fundamentals ofEngineering Exam. An early measure of our success can be observed though theselection of discipline by our students at the end of a two year common engineeringcurriculum. The freshman who entered or program in the Fall of 2011 represent the firstwave of students to enter this new format. Roughly 85% of this population selected aBSME over BSEE and BSCompE. Prior to 2011, roughly 50% of the students chose theBSME program. Additionally, during the past two years, our FE pass rates exceeded90%. These early findings suggest that it is possible for ME curricula to accommodatethe direction and desires of engineering students while exceeding ABET requirements

Gordon, M., & Davidson, B. S., & Lengsfeld, C. S. (2014, June), Adding Flexibility and Hands-On Experiences while Minimizing Sequential Gaps in the ME Curriculum Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20028

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