June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.819.1 - 12.819.16
Identifying the content of an Engineering program using benchmarking and the Fundamentals of Engineering examination
Several studies related to the future of engineering and engineering practice have highlighted the importance of broad engineering skills such as those targeted by General Engineering programs. However, identification of the curricular content for general engineering is still evolving. In the Fall of 2004, a new Engineering program was initiated in a large state university which aims to support a diverse group of constituencies ranging from traditional design, engineering and production companies, biopharmaceutical and bioprocess manufacturing, and biomedical interests (complementing the university’s medical school). This paper describes the process pursued to identify the core courses of this multidisciplinary program, receiving recommendations and ultimate consensus from the advisory board, industry representatives, and the new department’s academic and industrial experienced faculty. A critical tool to build this consensus was the mapping of the core curriculum to the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination to ensure that students will be prepared to succeed in that recognized engineering benchmark.
In the engineering profession and education over the past fifty years, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same, depending upon the viewpoint and application of the term. Definitions for the terms “engineer” and “engineering” can be found in Table 1 for both the year 1956 and 2006. The 2006 definition of “engineer” includes the first 1956 definition of “a designer and constructor of engines.” Of most interest may be the expansion from the 1956 “applied science” to the 2006 “application of science and mathematics” as well as references to biological (genetic engineering) and computational (software engineering) components. As “scientific and engineering knowledge….doubles every 10 years”1, what is included in the definitive sphere of engineering thus continues to expand.
The concept of engineering and approaches to its teaching is in 2006 the subject of many publications such as the Journal of Engineering Education, the International Journal of Engineering Education, and the Engineering Management Journal. Recent National Academy of Engineering publications titled The Engineer of 2020 and Educating the Engineer of 2020 discuss the future of engineering and the direction engineering education should proceed. The Engineer of 2020 “designs devices, components, subsystems and systems and, to create a successful design, in the sense that it leads directly or indirectly to an improvement in our quality of life, must work within the constraints provided by technical, economic, business, political, social and ethical issues.”2 Elements of this definition of The Engineer of 2020 are found in the dictionary definitions given in Table 1 such that both science and math are applied to an end result “useful to people” and “supplying human needs”.
The ultimate goal of an engineering curriculum is to produce engineers that can contribute to the profession and society in agreement with such past and present definitions and the vision of The
Sullivan, S., & Williams, R., & Howard, W., & Yao, J., & Kauffmann, P. (2007, June), Identifying The Content Of A General Engineering Program Using Benchmarking And The Fundamentals Of Engineering Examination Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2947
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