June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.262.1 - 13.262.16
Building a New Kind of Engineering Degree at James Madison University
In December of 2005, James Madison University set out on a mission to develop a new kind of engineering degree program. A task force of faculty from the College of Integrated Science and Technology, the College of Science and Mathematics, and the College of Business envisioned a new degree program that combined the best elements from a strong Liberal Arts education with a strong science, technology, engineering, math, and business curriculum.
Recommendations from the National Academy of Engineering and ideas from faculty, industry representatives, and the popular literature were combined with ABET accreditation standards and requirements from the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination to develop a different kind of engineering curriculum which will, in turn, produce a different kind of engineering graduate. The task force developed a list of desired learning objectives and educational outcomes for the new degree program. Using the ABET accreditation criteria and the FE licensure exam as guidelines, more than 200 detailed learning objectives were developed and mapped to the individual courses in the new curriculum.
The result of this work is a new School of Engineering at James Madison University which will accept its inaugural freshman class in August 2008. The new school will offer a single, interdisciplinary engineering bachelor’s degree that is designed to meet ABET accreditation standards and prepare graduates for the FE examination. The 4-year, 120-credit curriculum will focus on sustainability, engineering design, and integrated systems analysis.
History of Program Development
In December of 2005, a collaborative team of faculty and administrators was assembled from across campus. The task force represented the College of Integrated Science and Technology, the College of Science and Mathematics, the College of Business, the Center for Assessment and Research Studies, and the Science and Technology branch of the University Library. This task force was charged by the Provost to examine the feasibility of James Madison University offering an engineering program and, if feasible, to propose a type of program that will meet current and future workplace needs for more qualified engineers, contribute to the overall academic offerings of the university and the state, and attract additional qualified students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math to the university.
The task force established an aggressive timeline (Table 1) that took the group from concept to implementation in little more than two years. In that time period, many external and internal sources of information were reviewed and considered in the design of the new program.
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