Asee peer logo

Critical And Unconventional Analysis Of General Education Requirements For Engineering Students

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.345.1 - 8.345.7

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Jeanette Garr

Download Paper |

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

Session 2793

Critical and Unconventional Analysis of General Education Requirements for Engineering Students

Jeanette M. Garr, PhD Chemical Engineering Program, Youngstown State University


Engineers are deemed “logical problem-solvers”, a trait that attracts students to the field. However, the students’confidence-building skills in their ability to solve generalized “flow or balance” problems, requiring “follow-through” and “logical set-up” are being ignored throughout their college years. Outside of the realm of end-of-the chapter problems, ABET sets protocol on design and capstone content, allowing universities to set their own general education requirements (GER). Hypothesis: the biggest constraint to student growth and maturation in college is posed by university GER. This presentation serves as a formal “call for action” to delineate and discuss the engineering students’ best interest in a university education, GER in particular, and discuss the feasibility of change in liberal/social arts –dominated universities. What are the basic skills required of an engineering graduate, for whom math and natural sciences are already superb? Consider the following: (1.) nonfiction ACS-style writing and presentation skills for various audiences, particularly MBA and legal backgrounds; (2.) healthy ways to balance long hours, travel, families, career, finances; (3.) time management, ability to identify and prioritize; and (4.) continued professional development. These are four probable expectations in our graduates’ near future. Hence, concise survival skills that address these issues should be developed. Personalized choices for (1.) healthy exercise; (2.) healthy eating/cooking; (3.) ability to evaluate mortgage, building materials, contractor choices; (4.) evaluating legal and investment choices; (5.) marriage/relationship survival and theology; (6.) tips for success in small or large corporate offices; (7) healthy hobby and R&R choices, art/music/dance classes; and (8.) basic home and auto repair should be offered and encouraged. Instead, categories of limited classes that address objectives written by faculty predominately in the college of arts & science focus on fictional writing and subjective-based classes, often with politically-correct liberal thought genre. These choices do not address our engineering graduates’ most important needs.


Higher education in general, and general education in particular, is assumed to produce graduates “learned” and generally “aware”, and provoked into a yearning for a lifetime of learning. This is a daunting feat when the university as a whole is served by one general education (gen ed) committee, often dominated by faculty from humanities, social sciences, and liberal arts. The

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

Garr, J. (2003, June), Critical And Unconventional Analysis Of General Education Requirements For Engineering Students Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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