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Approaches to Integrating Policy into Engineering Education

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Engineering and Public Policy II

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.205.1 - 23.205.14



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Paper Authors


Ida B Ngambeki Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Ida Ngambeki is a Postdoctoral Researcher with a joint appointment in the Department of Technology, Leadership and Innovation and the Global Policy Research Institute at Purdue University. She has a B.S. in Engineering from Smith College and a PhD in Engineering Education from Purdue University. Her research interests include global engineering policy, motivation in engineering, and human-artefact interaction.

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Dennis R. Depew Purdue University, West Lafayette

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From July, 2002 to June, 2011, Dr. Depew served as the
fourth Dean of the College of Technology at Purdue
University. He is currently Dean Emeritus and Professor in
the College of Technology.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East
Tennessee State University before coming to Purdue to
pursue the Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1985. He joined
the faculty of Purdue’s Department of Industrial
Technology in 1987 as an assistant professor. During his tenure at Purdue, Dr.
Depew served as Head of the Department of Industrial Technology, University
Coordinator of Excellence 21, and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School. Prior to
becoming Dean of the College of Technology at Purdue, Dr. Depew served as
Dean of the College of Applied Sciences at Western Carolina University from
During his days in the classroom, Dr. Depew won or was nominated for numerous
teaching awards, including the James G. Dwyer Award presented to the
Outstanding Teacher in the College of Technology. He has served as principal
investigator or co-principal investigator for over $2 million dollars in external
grants to support academic programs and applied research projects in his
department and college and serves as a reviewer for programs funded by the
National Science Foundation.
He is the author of more than 60 technical publications and papers and has served
as a technical consultant for Fortune 500 companies on the subject of quality and
productivity improvement. The list of companies includes well known names such
as Alcoa, Caterpillar, and Subaru-Isuzu.
Dr. Depew is also a senior member of the American Society for Quality, the
American Association for Engineering Education, and Epsilon Pi Tau Honorary

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Melissa Jane Dark Purdue University

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Melissa Dark is the W.C. Furnas Professor of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University. She also serves as the Faculty Director of Purdue's Innovation and Commercialization Center and Associate Director of Educational Programs at Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security.

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Rylan C. Chong Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Rylan Chong is a Masters student in the Information Security Program and affiliated with The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Chaminade University of Honolulu. His research areas include global policy, ethics, information security and assurance, technology adoption, biometrics, education, pharmaceutical supply chain, and energy.

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Approaches to Integrating Policy into Engineering EducationThe importance of including policy education in the engineering curriculum has been recognizedby experts from bodies including the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology(ABET), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the NationalAcademy of Engineering (NAE). Several approaches can be taken to ensure that engineeringstudents receive some education in policy. These approaches may range from a brief introductionto a comprehensive program integrating engineering and public policy. However, the goal of allthese curricular interventions is to introduce the concept of public policy and promote anunderstanding of how policy and engineering are interrelated. This paper will outline variousmethods that may be employed to integrate policy into engineering and technology curricula anduse X University as a case study to examine these methods in greater depth.X University has a large population of engineering and technology students and has recognizedthe need for more policy inclusion in the curriculum. However, courses in policy cannot simplybe added to the curriculum firstly because the engineering curriculum is already packed andsecondly because there is a large variation in students’ interest in and prior knowledge of policytopics. Therefore, X University has taken a flexible approach, providing students with a diversityof options to introduce policy knowledge. These options differ in their length, the instructionalapproaches used, the depth of coverage of the various policy topics, and the range of contentcovered. This paper will take a case study approach, describing the options in detail anddiscussing the advantages and disadvantages of the various options. These case studies willinclude: a research project to develop a template for the creation of policy modules ranging from1-3 class sessions in length that can be inserted into pre-existing engineering courses, as well as adescription of the four modules created and piloted using this approach; an undergraduate surveycourse in engineering and technology policy cross-listed across seven disciplines; an experientialstudy abroad class surveying science and technology policy in the United States and theEuropean Union; a semester long course in technology and public policy; a minor in engineeringand public policy; and graduate certificates in various areas related to science and technologypolicy. Supporting materials for each of these case studies, for example syllabi and possibleprojects, will also be provided to encourage deeper examination and broader dissemination ofthese methods.

Ngambeki, I. B., & Depew, D. R., & Dark, M. J., & Chong, R. C. (2013, June), Approaches to Integrating Policy into Engineering Education Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19219

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