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Involving Constituencies In Curriculum Redesign

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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

Teamwork and Assessment

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.816.1 - 9.816.9



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Paper Authors

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James West

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Dennis Miller

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Daina Briedis

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

Session 3513

Involving Constituencies in Curriculum Redesign

James West, Dennis J. Miller and Daina Briedis Michigan State University

The Problem

For several years, our program has been implementing a continuous improvement process that aligns with the requirements of the Engineering Criteria of ABET, Inc. Not only do we assess how well our students are learning in our program, but we also strive to improve the undergraduate program by keeping it fundamentally sound yet as contemporary as possible. The issue of modernizing chemical engineering curricula has been a newsworthy nation-wide concern over the past several years.

As many chemical engineering faculties across the country have doggedly observed, our curricula have not reflected the innovation and dynamics of the profession. Except for minor tweaking and title changes, most chemical engineering curricula have remained essentially stagnant over the past 40 years. Although starting salaries remain high, student enrollments have dropped and unemployment rates have increased (1). Many of the better students are attracted to other engineering disciplines or modern sciences. While reasons for these phenomena may be numerous and complex, it is clear that changes in the enabling sciences and the demands of the marketplace demand wholesale changes in undergraduate education in chemical engineering.

Superimposed upon the issues described above are recent trends in the out-sourcing of the U.S. engineering labor force, which adds some urgency to the need for thoughtful curricular revision. Although chemical engineering has not been as susceptible to this phenomenon as other engineering disciplines (2), one wonders if it is only a matter of time before U.S. chemical engineering jobs will be exported as well. Therefore, it is imperative that the chemical engineering community develops a curriculum to support a graduate who is well grounded, innovative, progressive, and adaptable.

Most well known among the impetus for change is the “New Frontiers in Chemical Engineering Education” workshops (hereafter referred to as “Frontiers”) that have been conducted in Orlando, Cape Cod, Austin, and San Francisco (3). This paper describes a parallel and complementary effort in constituency-based curriculum redesign that is being conducted in our program. We describe the planning, implementation, and data analysis involved as well as both the obvious and subtle benefits that have come as a result of this ongoing effort.

The Plan

Early in 1999, immediately following our Fall, 1998 ABET accreditation visit, the chairperson of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU) and its faculty © ¨ §¦ ¥ ¤ ¤ £ ¢ ¡   ¢ ¤ § £¦ ¡ ¤ ! ¤¦ £ ¢ ¡ ¢ ¨ §¦ ¡ ¤ ¤ §¦ ¨ § " § ¢¦ £ # ¥ " $ # § § ¤ £ § ¤ ¡ ¤ § ¢ % &

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West, J., & Miller, D., & Briedis, D. (2004, June), Involving Constituencies In Curriculum Redesign Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12848

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