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Minor In Engineer Studies: A New Program For A New Era

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1070.1 - 12.1070.8



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Paper Authors

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Mani Mina Iowa State University

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



A new program has started in our school. This is a true multidisciplinary program that includes the whole engineering college and all engineering fields. The major goal of the program is to provide technological awareness and understanding of the technical issues to non-engineering students. Since many managers, directors, and policymakers (all around the world) are making decisions on technological-based issues, it makes sense to provide them with a conceptual-based technology education. This paper covers the major premise of our efforts, the way it is planned, the way we include all majors in the college, and the way we work together to make it happen. This is a collegewide effort that includes all levels from the dean and the dean’s office to the individual departments, as well as some of our graduate and undergraduate students. The big challenge is how to teach the classes—i.e., who the audience is. This paper shows the detailed planning, implementation, and early results and challenges of our first course developments and implementations. The paper provides examples of classes, the material that we cover in the first class for non-majors, and the approach of teaching such classes. The students in these classes are mainly in such fields as political science, business, environmental science, policy studies, and other parts of the social sciences. All of the classes in this minor program are designed with basic high school algebra as a prerequisite. The students will learn the concepts and even go through basic back-of-the-envelope calculations that will help them appreciate engineering solutions. The paper provides examples of such concepts as well as reactions of the students. Currently, we have the overwhelming support of the students. While the official start of the program is January 2007, students have shown great support and are working with the director of the program and the College of Engineering to take classes in advance to be a definite part of the program. This paper will address the main issues as to how we go about teaching technology and engineering appreciation to non-engineering students.


The need for more technological literacy is one of the major items on today’s national educational agenda.1-4 This is a task that has been nationally advertised by many educational, political, social, and international organizations. Technological literacy is a strong component of the success of nations in the future. The global need for more understanding of technology, technology trends, and technological development is seen by all governments as well as humanitarian and cultural organizations.1,2

In the United States, a fundamental understanding of technology is becoming essential to many managers, directors, CEOs, and policymakers. It is important to note that most such key people do not have any engineering or technologically related education or training. However, they are in positions to make important decisions on technology-related items. To such individuals, a fundamental understanding of the basis and concepts of technology, engineering, and technological developments are essential3,4.

The mission from the College of Engineering

Mina, M. (2007, June), Minor In Engineer Studies: A New Program For A New Era Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3005

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