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Engineering Economics as a Benchmark Course in the Context of a Sustainable Continuous Improvement Process

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Engineering Economics New Frontiers

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.621.1 - 26.621.12



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Paper Authors


Zia A. Yamayee University of Portland

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Dr. Yamayee's current professional interests include outcomes assessment in engineering education; design in engineering education; engineering design methodologies; and application of design methods to electric power distribution, transmission, and generation. Dr. Yamayee's work to date has included projects in power system planning, maintenance scheduling, hydrothermal simulations, unit commitment, operational and financial impacts of integrating new technologies with power systems, probabilistic production simulations, and integrated resource planning. In recent years, he has authored a number of articles and has given numerous presentations on outcomes-based engineering curriculum development and the implementation of the ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs.
His professional experience includes more than 32 years of university administration, teaching, consulting, and research, as well as five years of full-time work in industry.

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Mojtaba B. Takallou P.E. University of Portland

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Dr. Takallou received his B.S. from California State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University (Corvallis, Ore.). He has been a faculty member at the University of Portland since 1985.
He has been involved with research on highways, local roads, and street safety. He has also developed training materials, presenting several hundred training workshops with over 17,000 participants. He is the author of many publications, including the "Safety Handbook for Oregon’s Roads and Streets."
He is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Oregon and California.

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Robert J. Albright P.E. University of Portland

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Robert J. Albright received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Oregon State University, Corvallis, in 1963 and 1965, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1971.
He is a Professor and Chair of the Electrical Engineering Program at the University of Portland (Portland, Ore.). A member of the faculty of the University of Portland since 1970, he has served 35 years as Chair of Electrical Engineering, 12 years as Chair of Computer Science, and one year as Acting Dean of Engineering. He was honored as a Tyson Distinguished Professor at the University of Portland. His teaching, research, and consulting interests include energy conversion, power systems, control systems, and engineering education.

Dr. Albright, a registered engineer in the State of Oregon, is a senior member of the IEEE and a member of the ASEE.

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Engineering Economics as a Benchmark Course in the Context of a Sustainable Continuous Improvement Process While ABET has always encouraged program improvement as part of the accreditation process, Continuous Improvement (CI) has emerged as one of the most important criteria for accreditation. The primary inputs to this criterion are the results of assessment and evaluation of Student Outcomes (SOs). Course-embedded assessment plays a major role in the assessment of Student Outcomes. In a sustainable CI process, not all courses are involved in course- embedded assessment. The choice of courses is guided by two criteria: (a) Each SO is assessed with student work in a benchmark course, and (b) Required courses are selected as benchmark courses. Assessment of a benchmark course is conducted with the following in mind: assessment of student work measures the extent to which SOs are being attained, it is not necessary to use all of the student work to assess an outcome, and outcomes assessment is based upon student work and is guided by the grading of that work. EGR 351- Engineering Economics, a required course for all engineering students, was selected a Benchmark Course for the EAC/ABET Student Outcome h, “The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.” In assessing the student work in EGR 351 to determine the degree to which Student Outcome ‘h’ is attained, the following Performance Indicators were used: Students use comprehensive concepts of engineering economics to address environmental, political, economic and social impacts of many engineering decisions, in both societal (a particular community) and global context. Two elements of these criteria are: Performance Criterion h.1: Students can explain or discuss the global, economic, environmental, and societal context of an engineering problem. Performance Criterion h.2: Students can discuss the political and societal settings of an engineering problem. Student work used in the assessment process includes exam questions and/or homework questions, and student presentations relevant to each of the above Performance Criteria (h.1, h.2). To assess Criteria h.1 and h.2, we used the group presentation format. The students, as a group of five were selected as the economic advisors to the President of the United States. The students made a 10-12 minute presentation and discussed engineering solutions for improving the economy of the country in the context of a global market. The average grade for the student presentations was 3.49 / 4.0 which is a (B+) and indicates students had a good understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, political or societal context of engineering solutions. The implementation of the course embedded assessment method to a required engineering course, namely Engineering Economics, is presented in this paper. A detailed description of the process, data collection efforts, and analysis of the results in applying course embedded assessment method to the Engineering Economics course are provided.

Yamayee, Z. A., & Takallou, M. B., & Albright, R. J. (2015, June), Engineering Economics as a Benchmark Course in the Context of a Sustainable Continuous Improvement Process Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23959

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