June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.539.1 - 11.539.4
Encouraging non-BME Engineering Majors to Study Biology Abstract
Recognizing the need for more engineers to learn biology and considering the relatively small number of undergraduate engineering majors (outside of Biomedical Engineering) at the University of Wisconsin who study a significant amount of (or any) biology, the Biomedical Engineering Department made a goal to provide a mechanism that would stimulate non-BME students to study biology as well as the synergistic relationships between engineering and biology. Subsequently a multidisciplinary engineering faculty committee defined the Biology in Engineering Certificate, a program of study that a student can complete to receive a special designation on his/her transcript. To receive this certificate, a student must be enrolled in an engineering degree program and complete at least 15 semester credits including courses on basic and advanced biology, the combination of biology and engineering (e.g., biomaterials, tissue engineering), and a course called Biology in Engineering Seminar that introduces the student to research at the boundary of engineering and biology across the various disciplines of engineering.
There is a growing need for engineers in all disciplines to be educated about recent advances and remaining challenges in modern biology. Not only does limited biology education impoverish our engineering students’ education and their potential contributions to engineering, but it also limits their potential contributions to the exciting and new frontiers in biology. For example, advances in functional genomics, molecular evolution, intracellular and dynamic imaging, and the system-level integration of signal transduction and regulatory mechanisms require an ever increasing number of biologists to seek collaborations with engineers, mathematicians and physical scientists1,2.Those trained in the more traditional disciplines of mechanical, electrical, chemical, civil and industrial engineering have much to contribute to these frontier areas, but will be hindered from doing so without at least an introductory exposure to biology and the interface of biology and engineering.
Students in biomedical engineering are typically required to take both chemistry and biology as undergraduates and as such are well poised to make important contributions to modern biology. However, most BME programs have limited enrollment and cannot accommodate student interest. Considering the relatively small number of undergraduate engineering majors outside of BME at our institution who study a significant amount of (or any) biology, the Biomedical Engineering Department sought to establish a mechanism by which non-BME students would be encouraged to study biology, learn about exciting developments at the interface between engineering and biology, and be recognized for doing so.
In order to encourage non-BME students to study biology and learn about recent advances and challenges in modern biology, we chose to develop a Biology in Engineering Certificate. Much like a minor, a certificate recognizes the fulfillment of a program of study in a defined
Chesler, N., & Tompkins, W. (2006, June), Encouraging Non Bme Engineering Majors To Study Biology Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/433
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