Asee peer logo

Exploring Engineering At Bucknell University: A Seminar Approach To The First Year Engineering Experience

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Introduction to Engineering: The Present State

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.561.1 - 8.561.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Stephanie Velegol

author page

Ronald Ziemian

author page

Richard Zaccone

author page

Richard Kozick

author page

James Baish

author page

Margot Vigeant

Download Paper |

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

Session 1653

Exploring Engineering at Bucknell University: a Seminar Approach to the First-Year Engineering Experience

Margot A.S. Vigeant, Stephanie Butler Velegol, James W. Baish, Richard J. Kozick, Richard Zaccone, Ronald D. Ziemian

All: Bucknell University College of Engineering. Departments: Chemical Engineering/ Chemical Engineering/ Mechanical Engineering/ Electrical Engineering/ Computer Science and Engineering/ Civil and Environmental Engineering


Bucknell University requires all incoming engineering students to take an introductory engineering course. The course is typically taught by a team of six faculty and has an enrollment of over 200, while the size of a typical class at Bucknell is below 35. While this course has been successful at achieving its objectives in the past, it was felt that it could be improved in terms of class size and depth of coverage. This year the class was taught in four segments. The first segment was not altered – lectures were delivered to the whole class in the traditional manner, combined with smaller laboratory segments. Lectures included: engineering as a profession, the engineering design process, information on each engineering discipline, teamwork and learning styles. This was complemented by a team project in which students used the engineering design process to design a park. For the second and third segment, students were able to choose two of six quasi- major-specific seminars. Each three-week seminar had a class size around 33 students, a lab size of about 16 students, and featured a team-based hands-on project. Seminar titles included: Engineering Athletics, Programming a Computer, Green Engineering, Flinging Things, Pasta Towers and Digital Logic Design. Not only did these seminars allow a smaller classroom setting and more in-depth study, we found that it provided an opportunity for both students and faculty to take ownership of the course. The final section was also taught in the large classroom setting and centered on ethics and professional responsibility. This segment included laboratory discussions of ethics and discussions of books focused on engineering and society. It is our observation that this course structure resulted in a more optimal mix of breadth and depth, while giving students in a large course a small class experience.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Velegol, S., & Ziemian, R., & Zaccone, R., & Kozick, R., & Baish, J., & Vigeant, M. (2003, June), Exploring Engineering At Bucknell University: A Seminar Approach To The First Year Engineering Experience Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11965

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015