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Integrating The Engineering Curriculum Through Crossdisciplinary Studios

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Liberal Education for 21st Century Engineering

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.776.1 - 15.776.10



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Paper Authors


Nadia Kellam University of Georgia

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Nadia Kellam is an Assistant Professor and engineering educational researcher in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Georgia. She is co-director of the Collaborative Lounge for Understanding Society and Technology through Educational Research (CLUSTER) research group. Her research interests include interdisciplinarity, creativity, identity formation, and the role of emotion in cognition.

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Joachim Walther University of Georgia

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Joachim Walther is an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Georgia with a research focus in engineering education. His research interests include engineering student professional formation and qualitative research methods in engineering education. He has a background is in mechanical engineering and a PhD in engineering education.

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Tracie Costantino University of Georgia

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Tracie Costantino is an Assistant Professor of Art Education at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia. She received her Ph.D. in aesthetic education and curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her M.A. degree in art history from Brown University. Her research focuses on aesthetic education. She is especially interested in the nature of artistic cognition and the transformative potential of aesthetic experience as an educative event. She is exploring this topic in an interdisciplinary curriculum project funded by the National Science Foundation with colleagues from engineering and creativity studies.
In addition to numerous published articles and book chapters, Costantino has served as the editor of the Arts & Learning Research Journal and associate editor for the International Journal for Education & the Arts.

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Bonnie Cramond University of Georgia

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Bonnie Cramond, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia. An international and national speaker, she has published numerous articles, a book on creativity research, and teaches classes on giftedness and creativity.

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

Integrating the Environmental Engineering Curriculum through Crossdisciplinary Studios


Traditional curricular approaches within and beyond engineering education tend to be fragmented, with opportunities for synthesis being predominately limited to freshmen and senior year design courses. In this paper, we are proposing a curricular model, the Synthesis and Design Studio, as an example implementation to combat the tendency towards fragmented curricula. The proposed approach attempts to negotiate the realities of fragmented curricula by providing an integrative learning component. The pedagogical features of an interdisciplinary studio with engineering and art students that was implemented in the Fall 2009 will be described. Preliminary analysis of student feedback indicates some integration of students’ learning across different domains. Future research will include analysis and results from the case study and evaluation.


It is increasingly critical that every engineering student graduate with a well-rounded education, with abilities ranging from engaging in complex thought, analysis, quantitative and qualitative reasoning to communicating effectively.1-5 Unfortunately, the implementation of this drive to provide breadth to an undergraduate education often results in a general education curriculum with a set of disparate and disconnected courses, instead of an integrated experience.6-7 We believe that the undergraduate experience must provide some coherence across courses, extracurricular activities, service learning and student life. In the Greater Expectations report, the Association of American Colleges and Universities recognizes the “fragmentation of the curriculum” as a significant “barrier to high quality”.8 Similarly, the Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University explains that “the freshman experience needs to be an intellectually integrated one, so that the student will not learn to think of the academic program as a set of disparate and unconnected requirements.”9

An analysis of the relevant literature suggests that some integrated learning opportunities exist in typical engineering programs.7, 10-11 Indicative of this are efforts to integrate student learning in engineering through capstone Senior Design experiences and more recently through freshmen engineering courses.11 This approach to an integrated curriculum with a freshmen engineering course at the beginning of the curriculum paired with a capstone course at the end of the curriculum has moved us closer towards the goal of an integrated curriculum, thus giving the students more opportunities to integrate their learning.11

With integrative opportunities at the beginning and end of typical engineering curricula, engineering education as a discipline is uniquely positioned to lead the effort towards more integrated curricula. This is true especially at a time when other professional disciplines are creating capstone courses and experiences to begin to integrate their curricula.12 On the basis of the body of knowledge created through these curriculum integration efforts, we propose a continuous integrative approach to engineering education as a possible next step in this

Kellam, N., & Walther, J., & Costantino, T., & Cramond, B. (2010, June), Integrating The Engineering Curriculum Through Crossdisciplinary Studios Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16699

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: © 2010 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