June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.908.1 - 12.908.15
Integrated Engineering: An Engineering Degree for the Next Generations Work Environment Abstract
Integrated Engineering goes beyond the boundaries of common engineering disciplines by approaching engineering problems using fundamental knowledge as if there were no boundaries. The past several decades have resulted in engineering degree programs that provide students an increasingly focused, discipline specific engineering education. Most engineering degree programs emphasize gaining comprehensive knowledge and proficiency in a narrow discipline of engineering yet the work place is becoming more interdisciplinary. As sensors and microprocessors increase in use, design, manufacturing and regulation are being forced to become more interdisciplinary, even integrated, in order to efficiently utilize the latest technologies. More knowledge is required to stay competitive; at the same time there is increasing pressure to streamline engineering degree programs and provide students a realistically achievable four year path to a Bachelor’s degree. Hard choices are faced by educators and the result is often the sacrifice of engineering fundamentals that are unrelated to a program’s ultimate focus. There is a growing need for graduates that possess comprehensive knowledge of engineering fundamentals from the full spectrum of engineering disciplines to accommodate the increasingly integrated work place. Multi-disciplinary engineering degree programs are attempting to address this need, often by utilizing coursework from various “traditional” departments in well established engineering colleges. Integrated Engineering is an attempt to develop a comprehensive fundamental curriculum where all of the coursework integrally supports the overall course of study. With their broader, fundamental knowledge Integrated Engineering graduates are able to work in a variety of environments and quickly extend their fundamental knowledge to the focus required by a new or rapidly changing environment. The following subjects are presented and discussed: the constituency that initially proposed establishing an Integrated Engineering degree program; the original curriculum; the shortcomings, growing pains, and maturing of that curriculum; and the programs current ideals.
Engineers today impact society to a greater extent than ever before. We depend upon the systems, machines and processes developed by engineers in virtually everything we do. Solving problems in our modern world mandates the use of technology that changes virtually as it is embraced. In this environment, learning is perpetual, change is a constant, and competition is merciless. Problems and solutions alike know no discipline boundaries. The only non-volatile variables in the design equation are the fundamental principles of engineering knowledge which also know no boundaries. To succeed in this environment, the engineer needs to confidently rely upon these unchanging fundamentals, quickly learn how to implement the latest advancements, and perpetually adapt. Engineering fundamentals are learned in school; the latest and greatest application must be learned on the job, in the environment where it will be used.
McDonald, B., & Pratt, W., & Winowich, N. (2007, June), Integrated Engineering: An Engineering Degree For The Next Generations Work Environment Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2294
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