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Boutique Engineering: Student Learning In A Multidisciplinary Engineering Concepts And Methods Course

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Course Innovation

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.319.1 - 12.319.9



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Paper Authors


James Sweeney Florida Gulf Coast University

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JAMES D. SWEENEY is Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1988 and 1983, respectively, and his Sc.B. Engineering degree (Biomedical Engineering) from Brown University in 1979. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and is an ABET Program Evaluator.

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Diane Bondehagen Florida Gulf Coast University

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DIANE BONDEHAGEN is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. After obtaining an EPA Star Fellowship to begin her doctoral studies, she received her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida in 2005. Dr. Bondehagen received her mechanical engineering degree with honors from the University of Wisconsin in 1983, worked for several years in Wisconsin and then in Miami, Florida for a Latin American industrial regional office, and while working in Miami received her M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Florida International University.

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Claude Villiers Florida Gulf Coast University

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CLAUDE VILLIERS is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Materials and Construction from the University of Florida in 2004. Previously Dr. Villiers was an Assistant Professor at The City College of New York. Prior to this position, he was employed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) as a research engineer. Dr. Villiers also was employed by The University of Florida and worked on several projects sponsored by the FDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Boutique Engineering: Student Learning in a Multidisciplinary Engineering Concepts and Methods Course


EGN1008C Engineering Concepts and Methods is a first year course that has been designed and team-taught by a multidisciplinary troika of faculty (one bioengineer, an environmental engineer, and a civil engineer) in the fall semester of 2006. This paper provides an overview of the overall philosophy, content, and evaluation of assessment results obtained in our first offering of EGN1008C as a highly integrated and multidisciplinary “gateway” technical course to our three curricula in bioengineering, environmental engineering, and civil engineering.


The new U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has been launched as a truly multidisciplinary engineering education endeavor with simultaneous development of three B.S. degree programs in bioengineering, environmental engineering and civil engineering1. This highly focused “boutique” effort in creating three interwoven and relatively specialized engineering degree programs based upon best practices in both discipline- specific and multidisciplinary engineering education presents unique challenges and opportunities for promoting and assessing student learning. Once completely developed, eight common courses in engineering will bring students from the three majors together for integrated, lecture/lab experiences and activities. The cohort of 100+ students moving through our freshman sequence this year will ultimately make up many of our first and second classes to graduate from each of the three degree programs in spring of 2009 and 2010.

In designing our courses, curricula and the overall undergraduate engineering experience at FGCU our faculty have embraced the recommendations of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for adapting engineering education in the Phase I report The Engineer of 2020 – Visions of Engineering in the New Century2, and the subsequent Phase II report Educating the Engineer of 2020 – Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century3. Our freshman year two-course sequence of EGN1006 – Introduction to the Engineering Professions, followed by EGN1008C Engineering Concepts and Methods has been implemented in keeping with the NAE recommendation of introducing engineering design, engineering problem solving, and the concept that engineers are servants of society as early and as interactively as possible. Thomas Friedman’s popular commentary The World is Flat4 has served as additional inspiration for crafting a curriculum that is responsive to additional NAE recommendations, whereby engineers are better prepared to adapt to changes in global forces and trends, and to be leaders in the new “flat world” in the use of wise, informed, and economical sustainable development5.

Engineering Concepts and Methods, which introduces freshmen to engineering problem solving and the engineering design method, as well as to software tools for engineering problem solving including Excel, MATLAB®, and AutoCAD®, is the first highly technical course for all three of the majors. Exercises and problem sets in all three areas as well as in general engineering and

Sweeney, J., & Bondehagen, D., & Villiers, C. (2007, June), Boutique Engineering: Student Learning In A Multidisciplinary Engineering Concepts And Methods Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1684

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