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Newberry and Farison Redux: A Survey of General Engineering

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Assessment and Impact

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.976.1 - 25.976.10



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Paper Authors


Robert O. Grondin Arizona State University, Polytechnic

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Robert Grondin has the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of Arizona State University in 1983, serving first in the Department of Electrical Engineering in the Fulton Schools of Engineering on ASU’s Tempe campus and more recently in the Department of Engineering of the College of Technology and Innovation on ASU’s Polytechnic campus.

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Newberry and Farison Redux: A survey of general engineeringIn 2003 Newberry and Farison presented a survey of engineering programs that did not accreditunder any of the program specific categories (Newberry & Farison, 2003). They looked at thehistorical development of such programs, noting in passing that often the programs seem to beused as an n incubator for discipline specific programs. They subdivided general engineeringprograms into several broad categories: instrumental programs, flexible programs andphilosophical programs. Instrumental programs adopted a general engineering framework butinside this framework directed students onto one of several specific paths, paths which usuallywere modeled after the more common program specific paths; mechanical engineering, civilengineering etc. Flexible programs allowed students to individually blend engineeringcoursework in a highly multidisciplinary fashion. Most flexible programs turned out to bespecial purpose degrees based in the dean’s office, unassociated with a faculty with studentenrollments in the single digits. Philosophical programs operated on an assumption that a broadengineering undergraduate degree had sufficient value to justify the existence of the program.Approximately a decade has passed since Newberry and Farison conducted their survey. Anupdate will be presented using data compiled in 2011.Newberry, B., & Farison, J. (2003). A Look at the Past and Present of General Engineering andEngineering Science Programs. Journal of Engineering Education , 217-226.

Grondin, R. O. (2012, June), Newberry and Farison Redux: A Survey of General Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21733

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