June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
This paper presents thoughts, practices, and outcomes of interdisciplinary engineering education within an engineering institute. The institute is an equal-partner collaboration between a US university and a university in China. The strategic characteristic of the institute is its global approach to structural and operational development that leads to a long-term vision of interdisciplinarity. The institute has multiple engineering programs without clear departmental structure from the beginning of its establishment. All courses in mathematics, basic sciences, as well as liberal arts are offered in house by the non-engineering faculty of the institute. These have built interdisciplinary education in the nature of the institute. The Interactions between faculty in different disciplines greatly promote an interdisciplinary environment and nourish students’ interests in multidisciplinary studies.
Interdisciplinary education at the institute is reflected in the curricula of the engineering majors and non-engineering minors, creative degree programs, and extra-curricular activities in the institute. The engineering curricula include a first-year introduction to engineering course that allows students to have a taste of engineering in an interesting subject area before claiming a major; the capstone design projects allow the students to join each other again as different majors to form multidisciplinary teams and work on industry sponsored projects; the Global Multidisciplinary Design Project (GMDP) extends the boundary of capstone design projects to involve international collaborations; liberal arts courses broaden students’ horizon beyond engineering fields and help students to think about engineering problems with different perspectives. The institute offers minors in non-engineering fields, such as entrepreneurship, data science, and computer science, to provide concentrated studies in the non-engineering fields.
Besides the traditional degree programs on undergraduate and graduate levels, the institute offers Dual-Bachelor’s degree program combining the study in different engineering/non-engineering disciplines. The Global Degree Pathway (GDP) program allows the undergraduate engineering students to seek further development in and beyond engineering, with a more direct, simple and accelerated way. The GDP program offers a Bachelor’s degree in engineering at the institute and a Master’s degree in an engineering or non-engineering discipline including management, statistics, user experience, big data, sustainability at one of our partner universities.
The institute houses two centers, Centers for Entrepreneurship (CFE) and Center for Interdisciplinary Education (CIE), to facilitate extra-curricular activities in non-engineering fields and create an atmosphere of interdisciplinary education.
The paper will present data as outcomes of the effort in interdisciplinary education. Some new initiatives such as the GDP program and CIE are work in progress. Thoughts and experiences will also be shared.
Zheng, G., & Hohberger, H., & Ma, C., & Ray, P. (2019, June), From Interdisciplinary Education to Effective Global Engineers Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32865
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