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Principles Of Biosystems Engineering: A Sophomore Level Course

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.326.1 - 2.326.8



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Paper Authors

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Evangelyn C. Alocilja

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

Session 1608

Principles of Biosystems Engineering: A Sophomore-Level Course

Dr. Evangelyn C. Alocilja Michigan State University

Introduction In 1906, the Agricultural Engineering program at Michigan State University was established. The program took the lead in education in production agriculture engineering and food process engineering in the State of Michigan and elsewhere. Recently, however, environmental issues have become a global concern in all sectors. Production agriculture will now have to be viewed in the context of the whole biological, ecological, and environmental system of which it is a part. While we need to increase and improve food production for the present generation, we also need to protect our natural environment upon which food production for the future generations depends. In 1995, the Biosystems Engineering (BE) program was launched to serve not only the production agriculture and food processing industries, but also the natural resources sector. The BE program is designed to train students to address the challenges imposed by a rapidly growing world population, expanding food and energy needs, increasing resource demands, and greater environmental problems2. Core courses in the BE program include biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, physics, systems science, engineering sciences, and principles of design. To fulfill an academic career goal, the student completes a cognate which can either be in agricultural engineering, food engineering, natural resources/environmental engineering, packaging, environmental studies, biotechnology, or biomedical engineering.

Course Objectives Offered at the sophomore level, the three-credit course entitled “Principles of Biosystems Engineering” is the first required subject in the BE program. A knowledge of calculus is a prerequisite to enroll in the course. Knowledge in computer programming, physics, chemistry and biology are strongly recommended. Acquired skills in technical writing will be very helpful. The course is designed to introduce systems engineering concepts and systems engineering principles applicable to biologically-based systems. Specifically, the course objectives are: (1) to learn the systems concepts and properties related to biologically-based systems; (2) to understand and apply the principles of cybernetics, stability, and sustainability in biological systems; (3) to develop systems-oriented thinking and an integrated approach to problem solving; (4) to develop the skill of translating “word” problems into mathematical expressions (problem formulation), particularly in structuring a set of differential equations; (5) to use a mathematical type of software, in this case, Mathematica6, to find solutions; and (6) to understand the environmental, economic, and technological factors affecting the performance of biologically-based systems through the use of mathematical dynamic models.


Alocilja, E. C. (1997, June), Principles Of Biosystems Engineering: A Sophomore Level Course Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6738

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