June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.244.1 - 13.244.8
Automotive Engineering Technology: A Counter-Intuitive Path to Greater Engineering Technology Enrollment
At Arizona State University, the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology Department has implemented an automotive concentration within its Mechanical Engineering Technology program. This concentration, consisting of 18 credits, was added in part due to continued student interest, both among prospective students and those already enrolled in the program.
The paper briefly describes the path of the program’s conception and development. Benchmarks such as the initial curriculum design by the faculty, the dramatic overhaul of the curriculum based on the comments of the then President of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and related design process involving industry representatives are discussed. The current state of the courses and overall curriculum structure is discussed.
Of importance to engineering technology educators is the impact of this concentration on the enrollment within the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MMET) Department. In spite of gloomy national news about the automotive industry and Arizona State University’s geographical remoteness from the Michigan and upper Midwest heart of the US- based automotive industry, the automotive concentration has experienced explosive enrollment growth (of both in-state and non-resident students). These data are shared in the paper.
Automotive technology refers to all aspects of vehicles, including, but not limited to, design, analysis of automotive power-plants and power-trains, vehicle dynamics, automotive electronics and electrical systems, human comfort and system integration1. A classical automotive engineering curriculum has an analytical bias and sometimes lacks exposure to important practical aspects. A strong automotive engineering technology curriculum not only deals with the analytical and mathematical concepts that are the backbone of any engineering program but also the ‘hands-on’ practical engineering that gives students confidence in solving typical engineering problems. A close association with industry is important for a successful program. Current automotive technology is very complex. A typical vehicle power-train, traditionally comprised primarily of an engine and transmission, now includes an increasingly complex array of electronic components such as microprocessors, digital signal processors, miniaturized accelerometers, relays, and solenoids. It is important that students are exposed to the fundamental subsystems that make up today’s automobile. A new engineer entering the automotive industry must relate well to current technology and be able to adapt to future trends2. The practice of automotive engineering today is interdisciplinary, and requires team members with expertise in mechanical, electrical, electronics, computer science, industrial design and systems engineering, all working toward a common goal3. Thus, to meet the evolving needs of
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