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Passing The Fundamentals Of Engineering Examination As A Graduation Requirement In A General Engineering Program: Lessons Learned

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

ABET Accreditation of Multidisciplinary Programs

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.984.1 - 11.984.15



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Paper Authors


Richard Helgeson University of Tennessee-Martin

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Richard Helgeson is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Dr. Helgeson received B.S. degrees in both electrical and civil engineering, an M.S. in electral engineering, and a Ph.D. in structural engineering from the University of Buffalo. He actively involves his undergraduate students in mutli-disciplinary earthquake structural control research projects. He is very interested in engineering educational pedagogy, and has taught a wide range of engineering courses.

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Edward Wheeler University of Tennessee-Martin

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Edward Wheeler is an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering Technology from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1980, an MBA degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1982, and an M.S. degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Memphis in 1987. Mr. Wheeler has taught at the University of Tennessee at Martin for 24 years in the areas of graphics, engineering economy, statistics, and management.

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

Passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination as a Graduation Requirement in a General Engineering Program: Lessons Learned

Abstract The University of Tennessee (UT) at Martin offers a multi-disciplinary general engineering program with concentrations in civil, electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E) program was first accredited by ABET/EAC in 1999, and since program inception, a requirement for graduation is that students in each concentration must successfully pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination. In this paper, the authors discuss several aspects of interest related to problems, challenges, and future efforts associated with maintaining a 100% pass rate on this nationally administered examination. A brief overview of the program is presented, with emphasis on the multi- disciplinary nature of the program that supports and predicts successful passing of the examination independent of engineering concentration. The history behind requiring passing the examination is presented followed by an overview of the performance during the early years of the program and the program support mechanisms that were available to the students. As the number of students and graduates has increased, the first time pass rates have degraded. This paper examines a number of initiatives that have been implemented in the engineering program to increase these rates. The results of a detailed study of all students that have taken the examination are also presented. This study was performed to attempt to identify accurate quantitative predictors of both success and failure on the exam and to make improvements to the program to insure that all students successfully pass the exam. The UT Martin engineering program makes extensive use of FE examination results for its ABET continuous assessment and improvement process. This paper also includes a discussion of how the detailed quantitative results from the testing results may be used as an external metric for program outcome assessment and performance improvement.

History The history of engineering and engineering technology on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus extends back to the 1930’s when the school was a junior college. The University was known as The University of Tennessee Junior College, and the engineering program consisted of the first two years towards a baccalaureate degree in the student’s chosen field of engineering. The University became a four-year college in 1951. Most degree programs were transformed into full four-year baccalaureate programs at that time. The engineering program remained a two- year transfer program with most students transferring to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

In the fall of 1967, a formal proposal was developed by the UT Martin Department of Engineering and submitted to the College of Engineering at Knoxville for an engineering degree with majors from one of six areas: graphics, electrical power, electronics, industrial, mechanical, and surveying. In the fall of 1969, the University of Tennessee system approval was granted for a four-year engineering technology degree. The six engineering majors were reduced to three technology majors: electrical, mechanical, and surveying. (The surveying major later became a

Helgeson, R., & Wheeler, E. (2006, June), Passing The Fundamentals Of Engineering Examination As A Graduation Requirement In A General Engineering Program: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--577

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: © 2006 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