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Establishing an Engineering Core – What Does Every Engineer Need to Know, Particularly About Systems Engineering?

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Systems Engineering Division Technical Session 3 – Course and Program Outcomes

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Devanandham Henry Regent University

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Dr. Devanandham (Deva) Henry is an assistant professor at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he leads the systems engineering program. Previously, he was a research engineer with the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) at Stevens Institute of Technology. He has supported the development of Systems Readiness Levels, Graduate Software Engineering Reference Curriculum, the GUide to the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK), and the Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering (GRCSE). Before joining Stevens, Henry spent nine years with the Aeronautical Development Agency, Ministry of Defense, India, working on aircraft design, aerodynamics, performance, optimization, and project management of the Air Force and Navy versions of the Indian light combat aircraft. He was also actively involved in promoting systems engineering among the aerospace community in India.

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Charles Daniel Turnitsa Regent University


Cheryl Beauchamp Regent University

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Current Position:

Chair, Engineering and Computer Science Department of the College of Arts & Science, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia


•Ph.D. Engineering Education student, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virgina
•M.S. Computer Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
•M. Ed, Education, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia
•B. A., Physics & Computer Science, Notre Dame University of Maryland

Honors, Publications, and Memberships:

•American Society for Engineering Education, Member
•Association for Computing Machinery, Member
•ACM Special Interest Group: Computer Science Education, Member
•Computer Science Teachers Association, Member
•National Green STEM Educator Award
•Contributing author, We Switched Careers!

Professional Experience

•Software Programmer
•Software Engineer
•Systems Analyst
•Project Manager
•STEM Facilitator

Classes Taught:

•Introduction to Computer Science
•Ethics for Computer Science
•Operating Systems
•Computer Architecture
•Software Engineering
•Database Fundamentals
•Parallel and Distributed Programming
•Mobile and Smart Computing
•Introduction to Programming
•Hardware & Software

Research Interests: Computer Science Education, STEM Education, Online Learning, and Cyber Security

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Undergraduate engineering programs typically include the prescribed number of credit hours in mathematics and basic sciences to satisfy ABET accreditation criteria. When a university offers multiple engineering programs, there is likely to be strong overlap between the required math and science courses across all engineering programs, if not the same set of courses. For the remainder of the engineering program, there may or may not be courses that are common across the various engineering majors offered by the university.

XYZ University is at the brink of offering engineering programs for the very first time, with systems engineering and computer engineering as the initial two majors being offered online. While designing their curricula, a set of ‘Engineering Core’ courses is being created, that every student of engineering will be required to take. The content to be covered in these courses is identified such that it will lay a strong foundation for any engineer and introduce relevant concepts in a consistent manner, keeping in mind that there would be other engineering majors getting added in future.

There has been a lot of recent discussions within the systems engineering academic community in ASEE and INCOSE about what systems engineering should every engineer know, and benefits of providing that at an early stage. With systems engineering being one of the first two majors being offered, and with the concept of introducing an ‘Engineering Core’ for all engineering students, there is an opportunity to introduce systems thinking and systems engineering concepts to all engineers at XYZ University. This will be done in a natural intrinsic manner. For example, while a separate course on ‘systems thinking’ is being considered, systems engineering fundamentals will be embedded in the course on design.

This paper will elaborate the concept of ‘Engineering Core’ – what it will contain, and how the courses will be taught, especially online. The elements of systems thinking and systems engineering that will be included in that core, and the perceived benefits of such an approach will also be explored further.

Henry, D., & Turnitsa, C. D., & Beauchamp, C. (2018, June), Establishing an Engineering Core – What Does Every Engineer Need to Know, Particularly About Systems Engineering? Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30438

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