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Integrated Professional Component Plan From Freshman Experience To Senior Project

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

TIME 4: Pedagogy

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.750.1 - 9.750.11



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Paper Authors

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Kevin Schmaltz

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Christopher Byrne

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Joel Lenoir

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Robert Choate

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

Session 2566

Integrated Professional Component Plan from Freshmen Experience to Senior Project Chris Byrne, Robert Choate, Joel Lenoir and Kevin Schmaltz Western Kentucky University


The Mechanical Engineering (ME) faculty at Western Kentucky University (WKU) have developed and implemented a Professional Plan to assure that graduates of the program will have experienced key areas of the engineering profession and demonstrated their abilities to perform in a professional manner. This Professional Component has been divided into Engineering Design, Professional Communications, Computer Skills Tools, and Engineering Ethics, with students receiving instruction and practice in each area at least once per academic year.

Engineering Design experiences combine a structured approach to solving problems with an appreciation for the art of engineering. Professional Communications and Computer Skills Tools are introduced and then required throughout the four-year sequence to support the execution of design projects. The Engineering Ethics component provides students with a framework for understanding professional expectations and techniques for clarifying the ambiguity that is common in ethical dilemmas.

The primary purpose of the Professional Component course sequence is to link all these skills to engineering design and to assess the progress of student capabilities through the curriculum. The integrated structure of the Professional Component courses provides a framework for building upon previous coursework, assessing student progress often, and more quickly adjusting course coverage based on prior assessments to effectively assure that graduates of the program are capable of practicing as engineers upon graduation.

1. Introduction

The Professional Component as defined by EAC of ABET Criterion 4 has two major areas. The first area, Curricular Content, deals with whether the program provides the students with course- specific content in the areas of mathematics, basic science, engineering science, and General Education. The second area, Extra-Curricular, deals with the professional experiences of a student pursuing their degree: “Students must be prepared for engineering practice through the curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating engineering standards and realistic constraints.” 1

The engineering programs at WKU (Civil, Electrical and Mechanical) are new, with the first cohort of seniors currently progressing towards a May 2004 graduation. As an undergraduate-

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Schmaltz, K., & Byrne, C., & Lenoir, J., & Choate, R. (2004, June), Integrated Professional Component Plan From Freshman Experience To Senior Project Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12911

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