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General Engineering At Harvey Mudd: 1957–2003

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.637.1 - 9.637.11



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Paper Authors

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Clive Dym

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Anthony Bright

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

Session 1471

General Engineering at Harvey Mudd: 1957–2003

Anthony Bright, Clive L. Dym Department of Engineering HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE Claremont, CA 91711–5990 E-mail: Telephone: 909–621–8853 Fax: 909–621–8967

Abstract This paper describes the genesis and evolution of the philosophy of the Harvey Mudd College general engineering program. This program was established with a sound theoretical base strongly coupled to the realism of engineering practice. Thus, the paper also describes the development of the Harvey Mudd Clinic program — Harvey Mudd’s three-semester capstone experience — to bring professional practice to on-campus students, as well as the first-year design course (E4) that exposes students to client-based design work as the cornerstone of its program. The emerging concept of engineering as the “liberal education of the 21st century” is also cited to emphasize the centrality of the engineering design paradigm — that is, design as the cornerstone or the backbone — in defining the discipline of Engineering. The implications of this analysis for undergraduate engineering education are discussed. The paper concludes with suggestions for realizing an undergraduate program in Engineering that is current, vital, distinctive and consistent with the idea of engineering being a single discipline.

Introduction Engineering at Harvey Mudd College is a non-specialized multidisciplinary program, awarding an undesignated BS degree. The engineering major comprises one-third of the requirements for a student to graduate from the college, with another third in humanities and social science, and the remaining third in a mathematics and fundamental science common core. Engineering sciences and engineering systems courses complement the engineering design experience of the first-year projects course (E4) and the junior and senior year Engineering Clinic courses bringing professional practice to campus through industry-sponsored projects.

The program was recently classified 1 as a “philosophical Engineering program” based on certain defining characteristics, including a strong liberal education background and “the philosophy that such an education has intrinsic advantages over discipline-specific alternatives.” This paper describes the genesis and evolution of the Harvey Mudd engineering philosophy growing out of a

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Dym, C., & Bright, A. (2004, June), General Engineering At Harvey Mudd: 1957–2003 Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13721

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