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Integration Of First Year English And Introduction To Engineering Design A Path To Explore The Literacy And Culture Of Engineering

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



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Page Numbers

6.627.1 - 6.627.8

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Paper Authors

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Jeanne Garland

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Christine Helfers

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Ronald Roedel

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Sarah Duerden

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

Session 2453 Division 53 Freshman Programs

Integration of first year English and Introduction to Engineering Design: A Path to Explore the Literacy and Culture of Engineering

Sarah Duerden, Jeanne Garland, Christine Helfers, & Ronald Roedel Department of English/Department of Electrical Engineering Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287


One of the goals of the Foundation Coalition’s Freshman Integrated Program for Engineers (FIPE) at Arizona State University is to help students attain a critical awareness of the culture in which they live and work. Therefore, through sustained and ongoing dialogue with the engineering professor, the English teachers in the FIPE program have designed a curriculum that asks students to engage with other perspectives, both cultural and historical, about issues relevant to them as future engineers. As Samuel Florman explains, “[w]ithout imagination, heightened awareness, moral sense, and some reference to the general culture, the engineering experience 1 becomes less meaningful, less fulfilling than it should be.” In this first of two semesters, the engineering students explore the rhetorics, literacy, and culture of engineering in the university and in the professional workplace. They are exposed to the historical and cultural background of issues related to engineering, they explore rhetorics of inquiry to discover ways of knowing and thinking in engineering, which leads them to more informed arguments, decisions, and use of language. Through a freshman English class that has been carefully integrated with the engineering curriculum, we are able to help students contextualize, explore, question, and apply concepts learned in engineering to their writing in English.


The Freshman Integrated Program in Engineering (FIPE) at Arizona State University, developed through funding partnerships with the National Science Foundation sponsored Foundation Coalition, is a first-year course that integrates engineering, calculus, physics, and English 2 Composition. We have delivered this set of courses successfully to a class of 72-80 students for the last 7 years. Our integration has involved using the first-year-engineering course (delivered both semesters) as an umbrella so that each of the other courses integrates with engineering. In many versions of engineering coursework, the integration is confined to the scientific course – engineering with physics, or math, or both. The Foundation Coalition embodiment also includes first year English composition. In the composition course that has meant that our students have written papers related to engineering that were developed with the help of the engineering professors. However, in the last two years, the Writing Programs at Arizona State University has re-envisioned the first-year writing courses, shifting from a traditional modal approach to a 3 cultural studies approach called the Rhetorics, Literacy, and Culture curriculum. In this curriculum, we define Rhetorics, Literacy, and Culture in our course description: Rhetoric is

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001 American Society for Engineering Education

Garland, J., & Helfers, C., & Roedel, R., & Duerden, S. (2001, June), Integration Of First Year English And Introduction To Engineering Design A Path To Explore The Literacy And Culture Of Engineering Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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