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Outcomes Based Curriculum Development In A New And Emerging Biomedical Engineering Program

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Assessment in BME Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.907.1 - 8.907.14



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Paper Authors

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Peter Mente

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Marian McCord

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Joni Spurlin

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H. Troy Nagle

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Susan Blanchard

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Session 2609

Outcomes Based Curriculum Development in a New and Emerging Biomedical Engineering Program

Marian G. McCord, Susan M. Blanchard, Peter L. Mente, H. Troy Nagle, Joni E. Spurlin

North Carolina State University

I. Introduction

The Biomedical Engineering program at North Carolina State University has been emerging since the early 1990s, when it began as a graduate minor. In 1994, the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) began offering the B.S. in Biological Engineering (BE) and included a concentration in Biomedical Engineering. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response of students to the Biomedical Engineering Concentration, the BAE faculty voted in 1997 to develop a separate B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (BME). In May 2001, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina system approved the establishment of the B.S. in BME, and the new degree program, which is strongly supported by both the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State and is the only state- supported B.S. in BME in North Carolina, became effective in August 2001.

II. Development of Program Educational Objectives, Outcomes, and Assessment Methods

The initial program educational objectives (PEOs) for the BME program (Figure 1) were exact duplicates of the PEOs for the BE degree with “biomedical” substituted for “biological” where appropriate. These PEOs were developed in spring 2001 with input from the BAE faculty and from the BAE Advisory Board, which included two biomedical engineers. This approach provided a reasonable first step since the BME degree evolved from the BE degree. The original outcomes (not shown), for both the BE and BME degree programs, were Criteria 3a-3k as defined by ABET (

In September 2001, faculty from other disciplines within the College of Engineering (mechanical, textile, industrial, chemical, and electrical engineering and computer science) and other colleges (Veterinary Medicine and Physical and Mathematical Sciences) were invited to serve on the BME Curriculum Committee. The BME Curriculum Committee met regularly throughout the 2001-2002 academic year to develop PEOs that were more specific for the BME degree program. The first step in the process involved reducing the number of PEOs from eight to five by developing ones that were more general and overarching. After reaching consensus on these five PEOs (Figure 2), the committee turned its attention to developing outcomes, i.e. measurable statements that can be used to assess whether students are achieving the objectives of the program. The group decided that it would be more meaningful to develop outcomes that were appropriate for each objective and then map these to ABET Criteria 3a-3k to ensure that the criteria for accreditation were also being met rather than simply adopt ABET Criteria 3a-3k and try to map them to the PEOs. The initial attempt resulted in 34 outcomes for the five objectives

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Mente, P., & McCord, M., & Spurlin, J., & Nagle, H. T., & Blanchard, S. (2003, June), Outcomes Based Curriculum Development In A New And Emerging Biomedical Engineering Program Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11605

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