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Electrical Engineering Within A Multidisciplinary Program

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

ABET Accreditation of Multidisciplinary Programs

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.590.1 - 12.590.17



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Paper Authors


Robert Grondin Arizona State University

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Robert Grondin received the PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1982. Since 1983 he has been a faculty member at Arizona State University. In 2004 he became a founding faculty member in the new Multi-disciplinary engineering program at the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University in Mesa AZ.

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Darryl Morrell Arizona State University

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Darryl Morrell received the PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1988. Since then he has been a faculty member at Arizona State University. In 2004 he became a founding faculty member in the new Multi-disciplinary engineering program at the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University in Mesa AZ.

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

Electrical Engineering Within A Multi-Disciplinary Program Introduction

This year, Arizona displaced Nevada as the most rapidly growing state in the nation. Almost all of this growth is occurring in the Phoenix metro area, which is the area served by Arizona State University (ASU). In order to accommodate the 30,000 additional students expected at ASU by the year 2015, the university is becoming one university with 4 separate campuses: the Tempe campus, the West campus, the Downtown campus and the Polytechnic campus. None of these is a main campus and none of these is a satellite campus. The Polytechnic campus is located in Mesa and the enrollment there is projected to grow from 5,000 to 15,000 over the next decade1. As part of this plan, a new engineering program has been created at the Polytechnic campus. In order to avoid duplication of degrees already taught in engineering at the Tempe campus, the new program will accredit through ABET as a general engineering program. An overall description of this “clean slate” opportunity to rethink engineering education has been described elsewhere2. Here our focus will be on the development of an electrical engineering systems concentration within this multi-disciplinary degree program. This concentration is not intended to qualify for ABET accreditation under the program specific criteria for electrical engineering.

The Overall BSE Degree Program

After extensive discussions, the founding faculty team decided to build around core values of engaged learning, agility and a focus on the individual. Engaged learning is accomplished by having the main spine of the program be 8 semesters of project work conducted inside an engineering studio. This is an Aalborg style approach3 in which there is a single project experience every semester, accompanied by formal instruction in separate courses. The overall four-year program of study is illustrated in Figure 1. The spine of projects is the sequence of courses on the left-hand side of the figure.

Another distinguishing feature of our program is the modules, which make up the bulk of formal engineering instruction in the sophomore year. These modules are 1-credit length chunks of standard engineering topics such as mechanics or electrical signals and instrumentation. In each semester of the sophomore year, the student takes 5 such modules. The actual module selection varies from semester to semester and is guided by the project. In table 1 we supply a list of modules and their titles. Students are additionally allowed to take modules as electives. Similar modules have been used at the University of Arizona to provide breadth in the engineering curriculum (; the UA modules are not offered in the context of a companion project. Each of the program’s concentrations has selected three modules to serve as “anchor” modules. While not required for the degree, these modules are part of the required preparation for that particular concentration.

Grondin, R., & Morrell, D. (2007, June), Electrical Engineering Within A Multidisciplinary Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2767

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