June 28, 1998
June 28, 1998
July 1, 1998
3.88.1 - 3.88.8
An Integrated Engineering Curriculum - A Case Study John Palmer, Allen Grum, Marjorie Davis, Helen Grady, Clayton Paul Mercer University School of Engineering Macon, Georgia
I. Introduction Mercer University was established in 1833 as primarily a liberal arts institution. Current enrollment in all schools of the university is approximately 6500. The School of Engineering was established in the fall of 1985 and currently enrolls 420 undergraduates. The school offers a four-year undergraduate degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering with specialties in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Also offered is a degree of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Systems Technology, Industrial Management and Technical Communications. The Mercer BSE program is accredited by ABET using the ABET non-traditional program criteria.
In the fall of 1995, Mercer began the process of modifying its curricula in anticipation of a fall 1997 transition from the quarter system to the semester system. The faculty of the School of Engineering undertook a redesign of the entire engineering curriculum rather than make small perturbations on existing quarter-based programs. It was becoming increasingly clear that our primary customers - engineering companies - are requiring a graduate that possesses a wider range of skills than those of the previous graduates of engineering programs. One of the major outcomes of our study of today’s employer requirements was identification of the need for a more well-rounded engineer who understands and appreciates the knowledge and skill areas required of other engineering disciplines outside his/her own specialty. This requirement of the new curriculum was met by structuring a core engineering program that extends across all four years with discipline specific courses relegated solely to the junior and senior year. This Core Program that we will describe in detail is the heart of our revitalized curriculum.
II. Why We Changed: Catalysts As noted above, Mercer University decided to change from the quarter system to the semester system by the fall of 1997. While a number of our sister schools at Mercer planned to simply roll their current curriculum into the semester format, the School of Engineering faculty decided to take this opportunity to reshape our engineering program and achieve a new vision. This impetus came from both external and internal forces.
Externally, we were aware that ABET was working on a new set of criteria that would change the way our programs would be reviewed for accreditation. In addition, our colleagues at other schools and our advisors from industry confirmed our sense that engineering education needed to incorporate ways to assess its outcomes and provide mechanisms for responding to those assessments. Internally, we were not satisfied with our retention numbers. More important, we were convinced that we could help students build a better foundation, especially at the freshman
Davis, M., & Palmer, J., & Grady, H., & Paul, C., & Grum, A. F. (1998, June), An Integrated Engineering Curriculum A Case Study Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. https://peer.asee.org/7203
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