Asee peer logo

Development Of A Multidisciplinary Engineering Foundation Spiral

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Curricular Change Issues

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.439.1 - 9.439.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Samuel Daniels

author page

Bouzid Aliane

author page

Jean Nocito-Gobel

author page

Michael Collura

Download Paper |

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

Educational Resear ch & Methods - Session 2630

Development of a Multidisciplinar y Engineer ing Foundation Spir al

Michael A. Collur a, Bouzid Aliane, Samuel Daniels, J ean Nocito-Gobel School of Engineer ing & Applied Science, Univer sity of New Haven

Abstr act

To operate effectively in today’s workforce engineers need to have a muti-disciplinary perspective along with substantial disciplinary depth. This broad perspective cannot be achieved by merely taking 2 or 3 engineering courses outside of the major, but rather will require a radical change in the way we educate engineers. The faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of New Haven have developed a new approach: the Multidisciplinary Engineering Foundation Spiral. This curricular model provides the needed mix of breadth and depth, along with the desired professional skills, by providing carefully crafted, well-coordinated curricular experiences in the first two years.

The Multidisciplinary Engineering Foundation Spiral is a four semester sequence of engineering courses, matched closely with the development of students’ mathematical sophistication and analytical capabilities and integrated with coursework in the sciences. Students develop a conceptual understanding of engineering basics in a series of courses which stress practical applications of these principles. Topics in these courses include electrical circuits, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, material balances, properties of materials, structural mechanics and thermodynamics. Unlike the traditional approach, however, each of the foundation courses includes a mix of these topics, presented in a variety of disciplinary contexts. A solid background is developed by touching key concepts at several points along the spiral in different courses, adding depth and sophistication at each pass. Each foundation course also stresses the development of several essential skills, such as problem-solving, oral and written communication, the design process, teamwork, project management, computer analysis methods, laboratory investigation, data analysis and model development. Students go on to build substantial depth in some of the foundation areas, while other topics may not be further developed, depending on their chosen discipline. Thus the foundation courses serve both as the basis for depth in disciplinary study and as part of the broad multidisciplinary background.

This paper will discuss the design and pedagogical philosophy of the Multidisciplinary Engineering Foundation Spiral and describe several of the novel courses in the program.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright ©2004 American Society for Engineering Education

Daniels, S., & Aliane, B., & Nocito-Gobel, J., & Collura, M. (2004, June), Development Of A Multidisciplinary Engineering Foundation Spiral Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13080

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: © 2004 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