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Development and Implementation of an Integrative Engineering Program at Lafayette College

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Curriculum and Course Development

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


David Brandes Lafayette College

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David Brandes is Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College where he teaches courses in water resources engineering, environmental engineering, environmental studies, and sustainability. His research areas include impacts of suburbanization on streamflow, monitoring the effects of dam removal on stream dynamics, and movement ecology of raptors.

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Lauren Sefcik Anderson Lafayette College

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Dr. Anderson is Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Lafayette College. She received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Lafayette College in 2004 and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2009. She is the recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Dr. Anderson teaches courses in transport phenomena, experimental design, capstone design, biomolecular engineering, and material science, including biomaterials. Her research area combines training in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering to study the interactions between biochemical signals, cells, and biomaterials, focusing on the genomic cellular response to thermoresponsive polymers.

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We describe the impetus for and collaborative process used to develop a cross-disciplinary B.S. engineering program with a systems thinking core and focus areas in bioengineering, environment & energy, and robotics. [The institution] is an undergraduate only liberal arts college with long-standing accredited B.S. degrees in chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical & computer engineering, as well as a A.B. degree program in engineering studies. An internal visioning review of engineering at the college in 2005-06, a college-wide strategic plan completed in 2007, and then an external review of the engineering division in 2011 all recommended that additional structures be developed to encourage cross-disciplinary areas of study within engineering and to better integrate engineering with the liberal arts environment of the college. However, other priorities, a reduction in total courses from 38 to 36, and a general lack of support from engineering faculty for new programs led to inaction on major curricular change until the past three years. A new administration and strategic growth plan adopted by the college in 2016 provided a renewed opportunity to consider how the engineering division might respond to some of the recommendations of the earlier reviews. In this paper we describe the new program and its lengthy process of development. Challenges of coexistence of the new program with our discipline-specific B.S. engineering departments and the A.B. engineering studies program are emphasized. As the program was just launched in Fall 2019, we do not present assessment data here, but rather briefly describe our approach to program assessment.

Brandes, D., & Anderson, L. S. (2020, June), Development and Implementation of an Integrative Engineering Program at Lafayette College Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34441

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