Asee peer logo

Keeping The "General" In General Engineering: Designing Multidisciplinary Courses For The First Year Of Engineering

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Issues in Multidisciplinary Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.800.1 - 8.800.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Benjamin Sill

author page

Elizabeth Stephan

Download Paper |

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

Session 1380

Keeping the “General” in General Engineering: Designing Multidisciplinary Courses for the First Year of Engineering

Benjamin L. Sill, Matthew W. Ohland, Elizabeth A. Stephan General Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634


The General Engineering program at Clemson University teaches two courses required for all students planning to major in engineering. The first course, Introduction to Engineering, focuses on presentations and tours by each of the engineering departments. During the past year these presentations have become more active. The second course, Introduction to Engineering Problem Solving and Design, teaches a variety of skills fundamental to engineering. Since these courses address multiple disciplines, it has been a challenge to represent the content and perspective of all eight engineering programs offered at Clemson.

This paper describes recent changes in the General Engineering curriculum designed to improve the multidisciplinary character of these courses. In the first-semester course, some participation by technical disciplines outside of engineering helps to communicate the multidisciplinary context of engineering. Various approaches are being used in the second-semester course. These include identifying the learning objectives of the curriculum, restructuring exercises around these objectives, and engaging faculty from the engineering departments in the design of new activities and content. Changes to Introduction to Engineering Problem Solving and Design are catalyzed by an NSF grant to study the benefit of using real-time sensors in the curriculum. These sensors can measure a wide range of phenomena, facilitating the study of process variables and approaches that were previously difficult to include.

What first-year students know about engineering

What first-year students think they know about engineering

At summer orientation sessions, we ask incoming first-year students why they chose engineering as a major. The responses we hear include “I was good in math and science in high school,” “I have a relative who is an engineer,” and “I want to have a career where I can make a lot of money.”

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Sill, B., & Stephan, E., & Ohland, M. (2003, June), Keeping The "General" In General Engineering: Designing Multidisciplinary Courses For The First Year Of Engineering Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12038

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: © 2003 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