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Integrated Liberal And Professional Pedagogy: An Interdisciplinary Course

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

IE Curriculum Design

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.909.1 - 12.909.9



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Paper Authors


Abdul Kamal Western New England College

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Abe Kamal has been an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering for the past four years at Western New England College, located in Springfield, MA. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MS in Industrial Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering, all from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Prior to joining academia, he was employed at National Crane in Waverly, Nebraska as an Industrial Engineer for 7 years and subsequently at Telex Communications in Lincoln, Nebraska as a Quality Engineer for 4 years.
He is a member of IIE and ASEE, and has been serving as the faculty advisor of the local IIE student chapter for the previous 3 years.

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Herb Eskot Western New England College

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

Assessment of a Multidisciplinary Pedagogy for an Integrated Liberal and Professional Course Abstract

Managerial decisions made by engineers apply economic theory to assist in solving engineering problems and concepts. They form the basis for many theoretical relationships studied in economics. This makes the perfect setting for our multidisciplinary course: Management Issues for Professionals. The course is an integrated liberal and professional study that teams together upper-class undergraduate students of the School of Arts and Sciences and Business with their counterparts of the School of Engineering.

Full-time faculty of the Industrial Engineering Department and the Economics Department teach the course jointly. The course covers numerous topics that link engineering to economics. One such topic is the production function. While the production function is an engineering relationship that describes the maximum output forthcoming from specified input combinations, it is used by economists in cost minimization problems. It investigates both linear and nonlinear production models in the short and long run. In addition, a linear programming production problem is presented to further demonstrate the link between engineering and economics.

This paper discusses the course development process and assesses the successes and shortcomings of the pedagogy. The paper concludes with a comprehensive assessment of the course using a survey. The survey results of students attending two consecutive fall semesters of the course indicate no significant difference in students’ perception of the course. Conclusions are reported along with the authors’ recommendations.


There were three key factors that led to us creating this course. In the 1990s, there was a growing preponderance towards students rejecting the notion of traditional lectures as the basis for learning process in economics courses. Nevertheless, this approach prevailed in most college economic classes even though class discussion was the leading teaching method overall in college courses3. In engineering courses, many of the problems that needed to be solved required a multidisciplinary solution because of their complexity7. Students have trouble relating to the traditional textbook discussion of markets in microeconomics courses because many examples used are too hypothetical and are without observable phenomena1. This results in students having a difficult time relating what they have learned in the classroom to the real world. The likelihood that economists would benefit from exposure to the engineers’ perspective was addressed3. The trend toward multidisciplinary research further supports our College’s expansion of interdisciplinary courses. Notwithstanding these factors, the final impetus came from our college administration decision to require all undergraduate students starting with the 2007 graduating class to complete a course in “Integrated Liberal and Professional Studies” as part of their degree requirements.

For one of us, this was not the first experience in team teaching or even multidisciplinary teaching. However, this was the first course linking engineering with liberal arts for both of us. The college currently has an enrollment of about 2,500 full-time undergraduate students enrolled in the Schools

Kamal, A., & Eskot, H. (2007, June), Integrated Liberal And Professional Pedagogy: An Interdisciplinary Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2082

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