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Creative Thinking, Creative Problem Solving, And Inventive Design In The Engineering Curriculum: A Review

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Innovation in Design Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.342.1 - 8.342.13



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Paper Authors

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Jesse Pappas

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Eric Pappas

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

Session 2325

Creative Thinking, Creative Problem-Solving, and Inventive Design in the Engineering Curriculum: A Review

Jesse Pappas, Virginia Tech Eric Pappas, Virginia Tech


During the past decade, and especially over the last few years, engineering educators have been promoting, and implementing in their classrooms, an increased emphasis on student creativity, problem-solving ability, and inventiveness. At a growing number of universities, student engineers are studying the creative process, developing advanced thinking and problem-solving skills, and learning to design by experience. Successful programs, projects, and research at premier engineering schools around the country are equipping students with the advanced creative and cognitive abilities required to succeed as contemporary professionals. This paper is a review of the innovative, multi- disciplinary, educational methodology that is manifest in several types of new efforts, including: 1) Engineering design in a studio atmosphere; 2) Engineering courses for creative problem-solving; 3) Encouraging creativity and insight through journal writing; 4) The agenda for creativity at the UK Centre for Materials Education; and 5) A focus on the personal creative process. Research for this review inspired The Creativity, Innovation, and Design Report, a new national publication dedicated to fostering creativity and innovation in engineering and applied science education.

I. Introduction

At the 2001 ASEE National Conference in Albuquerque, Penn State engineering professors Donald Horner and Jack Matson spoke of their experiences teaching the course Creativity, Innovation, and Change in a "leaderless classroom,” where students design their own education and traditional teacher-student relationships are cast aside, replaced with a mentor-creator collaboration that fosters invention and facilitates the creative process. Intentionally, say Horner and Matson, both the educational methods and objectives are non-traditional: "…the process of teaching creativity, innovation, and change to engineering students in a university setting must itself be creative and innovative while concomitantly promoting change."1 These are two of an emerging group of educators who are recognizing the need for, and are implementing, a focus on creative problem-solving, the creative process, and inventive design in the engineering curriculum.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Pappas, J., & Pappas, E. (2003, June), Creative Thinking, Creative Problem Solving, And Inventive Design In The Engineering Curriculum: A Review Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12614

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015