June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.404.1 - 13.404.7
Development of a Bioengineering Concentration in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Prairie View A&M University Outcomes and Lesson Learned Abstract
With the daily advances in biotechnology, the increasing importance of nanotechnology and exponential demand for a more skilled biotech/nanotech workforce, many universities are updating their curriculum in order to graduate students better prepared to enter and compete in the new global marketplace. The Department of Chemical Engineering at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) has made strategic efforts to develop a concentration in Bioengineering, hiring new faculty, increasing research capacity in the bioengineering area, developing a course, and seeking collaborations within the university and with external collaborators. With the ever growing emphasis on the synergy between biology and engineering, it is paramount that PVAMU also update its program and curricula in order to remain competitive and be a major contributor to the biotechnology workforce. To this end, increasing the number of bioengineering programs at minority serving institutions is necessary if the science and technology community are to meet the ever growing needs of the biotechnology and nanotechnology workforce. The objective of this paper is to discuss the outcomes and lessons learned in the development of a bioengineering concentration in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Prairie View A&M University.
With the emergence of newer technologies, many of which steeped deeply in chemical engineering principles, the chemical engineering profession has witnessed a decline in the number of students choosing it as a field of study.1-3 Whereas there are a number of factors that contribute to the enrollment decline, the shift of students who would normally pursue careers in chemical engineering degrees to bio-related departments (i.e. biomedical, biological, bioengineering, etc.) has had an significant impact.3 To address this issue, many chemical engineering programs have changed their names and updated their curriculum to reflect the shared focus on biology and engineering.
Worldwide, the fastest growing global biotechnology marketplace includes approximately 4300 companies in 25 nations with revenues estimated at over $40 billion.4 The biotechnology industry clusters have identified workforce development as the second or third largest hurdle to commercialization and economic success.5 Hence, the survival, maturation and success of the biotechnology industry is ultimately linked to the ability to not only hire and retain a workforce that possesses skills and fundamental knowledge in traditional areas of biochemistry, molecular biology, pharmacology, engineering and chemistry, but also the ability to apply this knowledge to solve fundamental nano-scaled –bioengineering problems. Given the daily advances in biotechnology, the increasing importance of nanotechnology and exponential demand for a more skilled biotech/nanotech workforce, it is imperative that university curricula is reflective of market shifts (while maintaining the fundamental principles) in order to graduate students better prepared to enter and compete in the new global marketplace.
Nave, F., & Gyamerah, M., & Osborne-Lee, I. (2008, June), Development Of A Bioengineering Concentration In The Department Of Chemical Engineering At Prairie View A&M University: Outcomes And Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4493
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