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Development Of An Integrated Statics And Strength Of Materials Curriculum With An Emphasis On Design

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.193.1 - 4.193.10

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Paper Authors

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James Dally

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William L. Fourney

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Peter C. Chang

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Hugh A. Bruck

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Dave K. Anand

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

Session 2566

Development of an Integrated Statics and Strength of Materials Curriculum with an Emphasis on Design

Hugh A. Bruck, Dave K. Anand, William L. Fourney, Peter C. Chang, and James W. Dally Departments of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742


Traditionally, statics and strength of materials courses have been taught separately with the intent of emphasizing the mechanics of rigid bodies in statics and transitioning to the mechanics of deformable bodies in strength of materials. While this approach has proven to be effective in reinforcing students’ understanding of basic principles in mechanics, it has been less than effective in providing students with an understanding of the relationship between the two subjects and their importance in designing structures. At the University of Maryland, the Mechanical and Civil Engineering departments are seamlessly integrating these two courses together, better preparing students to apply mechanics principles in the design of solutions to engineering problems. The new courses are centered around a simple, but well-developed, design project and efforts have been initiated to enhance the instruction with demonstration experiments and computer tools that will be delivered in new interactive, multimedia "Studios". Metrics for success concentrate on comparative evaluation of student performance in the traditional and integrated versions of the curriculum, as well as student feedback on the curriculum’s satisfaction of ABET 2000 criteria.


Engineering students are facing new challenges in the 21st century that may not be satisfied with existing undergraduate engineering curriculum [1-4]. These challenges require the development of improved skills in a variety of areas, such as engineering design, problem solving, life-long learning, and multidisciplinary teamwork. These skills have been identified in a new set of criteria developed by ABET, known as ABET Engineering Criteria 2000, which is currently being used as a guide for assessing engineering programs reaccreditation [5]. Although these criteria provide a framework for developing 21st century engineering curriculum, implementation of these criteria is being left to the discretion of individual engineering programs.

Five years ago, an effort was undertaken by the University of Maryland (UMD) to establish a philosophical framework for developing new engineering curriculum capable of meeting educational challenges for the 21st century [6]. As part of that effort, a proposal was made to integrate components of the curriculum. The first implementation of this proposal is the integration of statics and strength of materials with an emphasis on design.

While traditional instruction of statics and strength of materials has treated the development of the subjects as mutually exclusive, there appears to be no sound rationale for continued adoption of this approach. In fact, the only real difference between the two subjects is whether or not a

Dally, J., & Fourney, W. L., & Chang, P. C., & Bruck, H. A., & Anand, D. K. (1999, June), Development Of An Integrated Statics And Strength Of Materials Curriculum With An Emphasis On Design Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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