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Engineering Technology In A Liberal Arts University

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ET Interdisciplinary Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.496.1 - 7.496.13

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P. James Moser

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Biswajit Ray

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

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Session 2147

Engineering Technology in a Liberal Arts University

P. James Moser, Biswajit Ray Physics/Engineering Technology Department, Bloomsburg University

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania has a strong liberal arts tradition dating back to its founding in 1839, as Bloomsburg Literary Institute, a private academy to provide classical education. All students are required to complete over 50 semester hours of general education courses within the disciplines of arts and sciences. We have recently initiated a new Bachelor of Science degree in electrical and electronics engineering technology, a program unique in this liberal arts setting. In this paper, we will discuss how and why engineering technology was introduced into this type of environment.

The need of a new program During the early 1990’s, our faculty noticed that most graduates in physics, including some of the very best, were choosing to go to work immediately upon graduation, rather than continuing their education in graduate school. This was a significant departure from previous trends. In response, the department adjusted the physics program and academic advisement so that students bound for industry upon graduation would have a strong foundation in both electronics and in optics, two areas of application in which the department had strength in terms of faculty expertise and laboratory facilities. In addition, the department began making contacts with industry leaders to determine the characteristics of an effective applied physics program.

The Ben Franklin Technology Partnership is an agency of Pennsylvania government, set up to connect industries with colleges and universities for mutual benefit. The Ben Franklin Technology Center in Bethlehem was able to provide contacts for us in over twenty businesses in our region, mainly in the electronics field. With the support of our Dean of Arts and Sciences, we began making visits to electronic manufacturing facilities, an essential action in helping us to understand the issues faced by industries.

We explored with industry personnel, the need for varieties of academic subjects, including, optics, electronics, manufacturing technology, electrical machinery, controls, and nano- fabrication. Recognizing that we could not satisfy all of the needs of all constituents, we focused on those needs that transcended many businesses. Various different local industries desired to employ graduates skilled in electronics, three-phase electrical machinery, power distribution, manufacturing, and controls. They needed graduates who can write and speak well, who understand the economic and social implications of their business, and who are well trained in the latest technology - able to apply it during the first day on the job. We concluded that engineering technology graduates with specialized training in both electricity and electronics, could best help to serve the needs of many industries in our region. “Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Moser, P. J., & Ray, B. (2002, June), Engineering Technology In A Liberal Arts University Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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