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Meeting Abet Criterion 4: From Specific Examples To General Guidelines

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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

ABET Criterion 4 and Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.905.1 - 9.905.9



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Paper Authors

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Heinz Luegenbiehl

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Kathryn Neeley

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Jerry Gravander

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

Session 3461

Meeting ABET Criterion 4 – From Specific Examples to General Guidelines Jerry W. Gravander, Kathryn A. Neeley, Heinz C. Luegenbiehl Clarkson University/University of Virginia/Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

“My students often asked me what the difference is between engineering and science. . . .I always told them that engineering is the stuff that works out in practice.” Carver A. Mead, Professor Emeritus, California Institute of Technology, 2003 National Academy of Engineering Founders Award Recipient 4

“The real world is messy and far more complicated than the neat, reductionist realm of scientists and engineers. . . .In the real world, disparate components interact in complex systems.” Erika Jonietz 3


Criterion 4 of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Engineering Criteria 2000 requires that engineering curricula culminate in a major design experience that incorporates “engineering standards and constraints that include most of the following considerations: economic; environmental; sustainability; manufacturability; ethical; health and safety; social; and political.” That is, Criterion 4 calls for an educational experience that integrates virtually everything students have learned, ranging from their technical engineering knowledge to their understanding of social and political issues. The other presentations in this session describe specific examples of how Criterion 4 is being met using a variety of multidisciplinary approaches. This paper reflects on these examples and formulates general guidelines based on them.


A great deal of the discussion of ABET’s Engineering Criteria 2000, including our own work,5,6 has focused on outcomes a-k of Criterion 3. If, however, we consider the overall objective of preparing engineers for practice and the importance of integration within the engineering curriculum, it becomes apparent that Criterion 4 (reproduced below) merits at least as much attention. Criterion 4 emphasizes the role of constraints in engineering practice and overtly highlights the way that the entire curriculum should function as a system. Within that system, the major design component of the curriculum (highlighted in bold type in the table below) functions as a culminating experience and, ideally, gives students an understanding of

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Luegenbiehl, H., & Neeley, K., & Gravander, J. (2004, June), Meeting Abet Criterion 4: From Specific Examples To General Guidelines Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12720

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