Asee peer logo

Linking Engineering Service Courses With Engineering Design

Download Paper |


2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.435.1 - 5.435.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Lisa A. Haston

author page

James S. Fairweather

author page

P. David Fisher

author page

Diane Rover

Download Paper |

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

Session 2325

Linking Engineering Service Courses with Engineering Design

P. David Fisher, James S. Fairweather, Diane T. Rover, Lisa A. Haston Michigan State University


This paper focuses on the important role engineering service courses could play in a student’s major engineering design experience. It explores opportunities for students to apply knowledge acquired and skills learned in these courses to their multidisciplinary, engineering design experiences. But transforming these courses and linking them more formally to engineering design may require that engineering faculty and administrators rethink some of the traditional ways in which engineering service courses and engineering design courses function. Institutional impediments, which prevent or discourage students from different engineering— as well as non- engineering— disciplines from coming together to gain formal multidisciplinary teaming experiences, need to be identified and eliminated. Reforming engineering service courses appears to represent one important component in dealing effectively with these challenges.

I. Introduction: Traditional View of Engineering Service Courses

Accreditation Requirements

An engineering service course may be defined as a required or elective course taken by engineering students outside their principal field of study— e.g., an environmental engineering or computer engineering course taken by students majoring in mechanical engineering. While preparing for an EC2000 accreditation site visit to Michigan State University (MSU), several members of the College of Engineering faculty came to recognize that engineering service courses were often overlooked— or even discounted— in terms of their potential educational value 1, 2. This conclusion became very evident when the faculty began the process of documenting how educational program objectives were actually being achieved within specific undergraduate engineering programs. By and large, MSU’ engineering faculty viewed s engineering service courses primarily as a longstanding engineering curricular mandate from ABET. This Engineering Topics curricular-content requirement is concisely stated as follows in a recent addition of ABET’ Criteria for Accrediting Programs in Engineering in the United s States 3:

“In order to promote breadth, the curriculum must include at least one engineering course outside the major disciplinary area.”

Several faculty members began to look beyond this cryptic requirement to add breadth to engineering programs and asked the following important question:

“How might engineering services courses at be transformed so that they have an important impact on the program outcomes mandated in EC2000’ Criterion 3 4?” s

Haston, L. A., & Fairweather, J. S., & Fisher, P. D., & Rover, D. (2000, June), Linking Engineering Service Courses With Engineering Design Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8545

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: © 2000 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