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Proceed: A Department Wide Curriculum Reform Initiative In Project Centered Education

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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

Design Through the Curriculum

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.941.1 - 8.941.11



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Beaman

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Philip Schmidt

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

Session 2366

PROCEED: A Department-Wide Curriculum Reform Initiative in Project-Centered Education

Philip S. Schmidt and Joseph J. Beaman Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Texas at Austin


The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin has undertaken a major curriculum reform effort entitled PROCEED, an acronym for Project-Centered Education. The strategic objectives of PROCEED are: (1) to strengthen our students’ understanding of fundamental engineering theory by continuously tying it to tangible objects and systems; (2) to strengthen our Department’s connections with its industrial stakeholders by actively involving them in the development and delivery of curriculum content; (3) to provide our students with a broad range of team-based experiences which will better prepare them for growth and leadership in the corporate and professional world.

PROCEED was formally initiated in the fall of 2000. Overall curriculum goals were outlined and 13 pilot projects were initiated by the ME faculty. These projects cover the entire range of the curriculum, from the freshman introduction-to-ME course through the senior capstone design course. They include a number of reforms, including, among others, development of new labs which are closely integrated with core theory courses, using reverse-engineering of commercial products and systems to motivate analysis and computer modeling, development of an on-line student portfolio system to showcase project-centered work, and live-videoconferencing with corporate engineers to counsel with students on company-sponsored projects.

This paper outlines the background, motivation, and strategy behind PROCEED, how it is being implemented, examples of PROCEED pilot projects, and implementation issues and challenges.


The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest in the US, with a total enrollment of over 1000 undergraduates and 200 graduate students. In 2000-01, the Department awarded 170 BS, 78 MS and 24 PhD degrees; US News and World Report ratings for that year ranked ME at UT 10th nationally at the undergraduate level and 11th at the graduate level.

As is the case with departments nationwide, UTME faculty have been evaluating the strategic directions in which we need to move to stay in the top tier in the decades to come. One of our top priorities, along with excellence in research and graduate education, is to produce new graduates with exceptional preparation for further professional study and engineering practice. One result of this priority is a new undergraduate curriculum reform initiative called PROCEED, an acronym

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exhibition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Beaman, J., & Schmidt, P. (2003, June), Proceed: A Department Wide Curriculum Reform Initiative In Project Centered Education Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12377

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