June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.274.1 - 14.274.7
Benefits from Offerings to Non-Engineering or ET Majors: Integrating Colleges of Engineering into Their Institutions
Colleges of engineering are very strong academic/research organizations but they usually offer courses only for their own majors. The sciences and mathematics typically offer extensive courses for non-majors. Often, these are required courses for the non-majors and the aggregate of the non-major courses may exceed those offered for their own undergraduates. The practice of colleges of engineering not to offer courses for non-engineers isolates engineering and deprives engineering colleges from allies in other colleges, cuts them off from sources of students in the very groups engineering would like to entice, and misses the opportunity to educate other majors about the contributions engineering has made and will make to society. Instances of engineering college courses offered for non-majors are discussed and the characteristics and topics for additional courses are presented.
Introduction and Motivation
In our country, where technology make access to information, data, statistics, and even opinions readily available, our citizens need to know a great deal more about engineering and technology so they can make intelligent decisions. These circumstances crop up everywhere and they are inherently highly multidisciplinary in nature. Colleges of engineering and/or engineering technology, herein after called E/ET colleges, are well-suited for the challenge to educate people about technical issues but, unfortunately, E/ET colleges often offer courses only for their own majors. This exclusivity precludes the access to very beneficial knowledge by individuals in other majors and it also isolates E/ET colleges from the other colleges within their own institutions. As a result, E/ET colleges need to take the initiative to introduce non-majors to the principles of engineering and technology by developing appropriate courses
The construct of these potential courses is very important to bridge this gap. They must contain sound technical principles, be objective and realistic, treat inherently interesting and timely topics, instill a recognition of the quantitative nature of technology, contain good case studies, provide hand-on experience if possible, and, most importantly, be well taught. Names for these courses are important and in this paper, they’re called Engineering Insights or EI course for short. An example course might be EI 101: Electric Energy Generation and Distribution.
From the exposure they receive through taking EI courses, graduates of liberal arts, business, education and similar programs will better understand what will be involved to improve infrastructure systems and they will be more likely to appreciate the time and investments that are required. They will become skeptical of quick fixes, be able to spot unsound proposals, and will realize the importance of seeking well-founded advice on technical matters. Upon taking EI courses some students may find the E/ET fields so interesting that they switch to these curricula,
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