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Innovation In Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs: Focus On Multilevel Communication Skills

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Program Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.766.1 - 10.766.12



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Paper Authors

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Akhlesh Lakhtakia

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Christine Masters

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Judith Todd

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


Judith A. Todd, Akhlesh Lakhtakia, and Christine B. Masters

Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802-6812


Multidisciplinary engineering programs are uniquely positioned to integrate new educational and research initiatives into their curricula. In this paper, we describe an integrated series of continuing innovations in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department, College of Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. These innovations include: the introduction of undergraduate student portfolios; the adoption of a new perspective on “Design” for the ABET program criteria; enhancement of the senior research and design project through incorporation of the ABET professional components; incorporation of non-technical abstracts in both undergraduate and graduate theses; professional development seminars for both undergraduate and graduate students; the introduction of an informal education seminar to prepare PhD students wishing to pursue academic careers; and introduction of new courses to support the department’s strategic plan. With an underlying focus on the development of multilevel communication skills, the aim of these initiatives is to foster an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary environment that produces internationally competitive engineers.

The Environment for Multidisciplinary Engineering

The Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) Department at The Pennsylvania State University will celebrate, in 2005, its centennial year and its fiftieth year of Honors education for the College of Engineering. Currently, the department comprises 27 tenured/tenure-track faculty, 90 undergraduate students (65 Engineering Science juniors and seniors) and 100 graduate students. The following degrees and programs are offered by the ESM Department: BS (Honors) in Engineering Science; minor in Engineering Mechanics; MS in Engineering Science; MS in Engineering Mechanics; MEng in Engineering Mechanics; and PhD in Engineering Science and Mechanics. Research expenditures in 2003 exceeded $15,000,000, reflecting the department’s core strengths in materials, mechanics and nanotechnologies. The faculty is highly multidisciplinary with degrees in mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering science, and aerospace, civil, electrical, materials, and mechanical engineering. Consequently, faculty and student collaborations are widespread both within the College of Engineering and across the University (including the Colleges of Science, Earth and Mineral Science, Agriculture, and Medicine, the Materials Research Institute and the Huck Life Sciences Institute) – activities that

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Lakhtakia, A., & Masters, C., & Todd, J. (2005, June), Innovation In Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs: Focus On Multilevel Communication Skills Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14712

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