Asee peer logo

Meeting The Challenge Of Reviewing Eleven Engineering Programs

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Institutional and Curricular Reform

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.885.1 - 13.885.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Pierre Lafleur Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal

visit author page

Pierre G. Lafleur is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of accademic affairs at Ecole Polytechnique of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has obtained his engineering degree from Ecole Polytechnique and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from McGill University in the field of Polymer Engineering. After graduating he worked in industry before joining École Polytechnique in 1985. Professor Lafleur has been extensively involved in undergraduate teaching and graduated 20 master and 15 Ph.D. students. He has published more than a 100 articles in scientific journals and conference proceedings.

visit author page


Yves Boudreault Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal

visit author page

Yves Boudreault is associate professor of computer engineering at École Polytechnique de Montréal where he is coordinator for the first year program. His pedagogical interests focused on the freshman and sophomore programming courses. His research interest is Computer aided instruction: models of learners, motivation and learning strategies, student-system interactions. In 1994 and 1999 he received Polytechnic Director awards underlying his exceptional teaching effort.

visit author page


Richard Prégent École Polytechnique de Montréal

visit author page

Richard Prégent was director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (Bureau d’appui pédagogique, in french) at École Polytechnique de Montréal. He is recently retired after thirty years in the field of pedagogy at university level. He contributed directly in the steering comittee responsible of the operation reviewing the eleven undergraduate programs at École Polytechnique. He is mainly known in french universities around the world (Québec, Belgium, Switzerland, France, countries in Africa, etc.) by numerous practical books he wrote about pedagogy applied at university level.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Meeting the challenge of reviewing eleven engineering programs Pierre G. Lafleur, Yves Boudreault and Richard Prégent École Polytechnique de Montréal, Québec, CANADA


For 135 years, École Polytechnique de Montréal has provided an engineering program in the province of Québec, Canada. During its long history it has, successfully, faced and overcame many challenges in several areas such as teaching, research, funding, and international collaborations. The recent process through which it has, thoroughly, remodeled its eleven engineering undergraduate programs is, however, quite unique. This remodeling, in part, reflected on the basic mathematics courses and the complementary courses (social and economical aspects of engineering, ethics, etc.). It is unique in many ways: the size of the operation; the depth of the changes implied; as well as, a decentralization process which used and imbedded an extraordinary direct involvement and responsibility of faculty members.

What was the problem? During the many decades of its existence (135 years old), École Polytechnique has reviewed and created many undergraduate and graduate programs. At the undergraduate level we are now providing, on a four-year basis, eleven curriculums to close to four thousand students: civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, computer engineering, materials engineering, industrial engineering, physics engineering, chemical engineering, geological engineering and mining engineering. For more than 25 years, The educational model in all our programs has included a first common year of mandatory basic courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, materials, etc., without a real good knowledge, by the student, of the definition and challenges of the engineering profession.

During their first year at École Polytechnique, students lacked motivation. Their success rate was not satisfying. Other universities, without such a first year of basic courses, began to be more appealing and our inscription rate dropped a little benefiting these other universities, in the province of Québec. Also, as all universities do, we received messages from industry asking us to better prepare our students for «other skills», deemed very important in the actual context of the market place; such as independence, communications and teamwork skills, managing people and tasks, and mobilizing innovation and change. (1)

It was time for a good and thorough analysis of our educational model and a consequent review of all undergraduate programs, according to a contemporary vision of the engineering profession and a corresponding philosophy of teaching engineering.

But time mattered! After many thoughts, our president mandated the Dean of studies to propose a process of review of our programs that would involve the profound changes needed. Because of the competition with other universities, and more importantly because of the long period of implementation of these changes (during the following four years of all of our undergraduate programs), the process analysis, conception and design of our eleven programs had to be done in three years! If we wanted to do a profound review of our practices, if we wanted the changes to be accepted, if we wanted these changes to last and to produce their longitudinal effects, we had

Page 1

Lafleur, P., & Boudreault, Y., & Prégent, R. (2008, June), Meeting The Challenge Of Reviewing Eleven Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3448

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: © 2008 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