Asee peer logo

Incorporating Standards Into Engineering And Engineering Technology Curricula: It's A Matter Of Public Policy

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

The Role of Engineering in Public Policy

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.725.1 - 14.725.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Bruce Harding Purdue University

visit author page

Bruce A. Harding is a Professor at Purdue and an ASEE Fellow whose scholarship and engagement activities revolve around the development and application of American National and ISO standards dealing with Technical Product Documentation (TPD) as it broadly relates to product realization and other technical aspects of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). He is a member of the board of directors of ANSI, the vice-chair of the ASME Board on Standardization and Testing and chairs the 62-country ISO worldwide standards committee on technical product documentation for product lifecycle management. He teaches Global Standardization, one of the four graduate standardization courses mentioned in the paper.

visit author page


Paul McPherson Purdue University

visit author page

Paul B. McPherson is a graduate of Berea College in Kentucky and currently a graduate student at Purdue.
His interests include mechanical design, standardization, green manufacturing and alternate energy systems.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Incorporating standards into engineering and engineering technology curriculum: It’s a matter of public policy

Abstract Standards are those rarely noticed background rules and procedures which make products and processes successfully function in society. Standards can be technical, procedural or societal, and affect everything from automobiles, to accounting practices, to much of what we carry in our pockets or purses, to the way we read this electronic page. Standards are so pervasive that during our daily routine we may interact hundreds of times with products of standardization.

Still, as important as standards are, the topic is often approached with as much enthusiasm as that of watching grass grow. Worse, knowledge of standards, their use and development may actually be completely overlooked throughout the educational process. Why does this disinterest exist? How can it be remedied? ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) for one, has begun the process in establishing basic requirements for standards education spanning both engineering and engineering technology.

This paper discusses how such criteria can be addressed and standards incorporated into classrooms and across disciplines, to help battle disinterest and graduates’ dearth of standards knowledge. It includes educational techniques, strategies and sources of case studies that may be directly employed in classrooms. It goes further in offering insight into the standards development process and the rationale for involvement. It also touches on future trends in standards development. Involvement in the process can further individual professional development, as well as helping establish valuable contacts with industry and standards leaders, both nationally and internationally.

Introduction Standards have been an integral part of United States public policy since long before the terms ‘public policy’ or even ‘standard’ were coined. In the early 18th Century, John Quincy Adams wrote about ‘standard’ weights and measures:

“ Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessaries of life to every individual of human society. They enter into the economical arrangements and daily concerns of every family. They are necessary to every occupation of human industry; to the distribution and security of every species of property; to every transaction of trade and commerce; to the labors of the husbandman; to the ingenuity of the artificer; to the studies of the philosopher; to the researches of the antiquarian; to the navigation of the mariner, and the marches of the soldier; to all the exchanges of peace, and all the operations of war. The knowledge of them, as in established use, is among the first elements of education, and is often learned by those who learn nothing else, not even to read and write. This knowledge is riveted in the memory by the habitual application of it to the employments of men throughout life. ” 1

However with the passing of time and new technology advances, the interpretation of standards has evolved. Donald L. Evans, Secretary of Commerce in 2004 wrote:

“The international language of commerce is standards. Adherence to agreed upon product or service specifications underpins international commerce, enabling

Harding, B., & McPherson, P. (2009, June), Incorporating Standards Into Engineering And Engineering Technology Curricula: It's A Matter Of Public Policy Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5204

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: © 2009 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