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Integration Of Freshman Engineering Program Into The All University Freshman Reading Initiative

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.800.1 - 11.800.6



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Paper Authors


Charles Dolan University of Wyoming

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H. T. Person Professor of Engineering, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071

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Larry Schmidt University of Wyoming Orcid 16x16

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Assistant Librarian, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071

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

Integration of Freshman Engineering Program into the All University Freshman Reading Initiative

Abstract In the fall of 2005, the University of Wyoming initiated a Freshman READ program for all incoming freshmen. The book selected for the inaugural READ program was Dava Sobel’s Longitude. The University objective was to explore how the book could be used across the curriculum in all colleges and to provide the first year students with a common reading experience. This paper explores how the College of Engineering incorporated the University READ program into the freshman introduction to engineering course. Included in the paper is a discussion of how the annual design challenge was adapted to a Longitude theme, how information literacy questions were structured around the theme, and how the university library system supported the student research and assessment papers required for the course. A critical component of the project was assessing the student papers and the student’s ability to evaluate and comment on their research papers. A summary of this assessment is included. The paper concludes with a summary of the overall assessment of the integrated program including suggestions on how other engineering colleges might be able to capitalize on first year reading programs. Introduction

The College of Engineering, like many other engineering programs, is impacted by the general education requirements of the University. In 2003, the University of Wyoming established a new University Studies Program (USP). The program requires students to not only satisfy general education requirements in humanities, social sciences and the arts, but also students must develop oral communications skills, fundamentals of information literacy and learn to work in team environments identified as “intellectual communities.” These objectives are similar to the continuing ABET a-k requirements as adopted by the departments within the College of Engineering. Therefore, to avoid additional pressure on the number of credit hours required to satisfy the University Studies Program, the College of Engineering adopted the University Studies Requirements into an integrated first year program. This allowed an opportunity to introduce global problem solving skills and introduce design early in the curriculum while meeting the university requirements.

In the fall of 2005, the university introduced the Freshman READ (Read, Evaluate, Analyze, and Discuss) program. The freshman READ program was intended to engage a common topic across campus; however, participation in the program was optional by instructor. The selection committee had a short list of three books: Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed1, H. G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights2 and Dava Sobel’s Longitude3. Longitude3 was eventually selected. Over 800 copies of the book were sold during the summer orientation with the expectation that students would read the book prior to arriving on campus.

Each fall the College of Engineering offers 12 to 14 sections of ES 1000, Introduction to Engineering. Each section has 20-22 students and is taught by faculty members that are selected for superior teaching skills and an interest in first year students. The course is required of all

Dolan, C., & Schmidt, L. (2006, June), Integration Of Freshman Engineering Program Into The All University Freshman Reading Initiative Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--633

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