Asee peer logo

Responsiveness Of Engineering Curricula To Cultural And Societal Changes

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1044.1 - 13.1044.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


John Mativo The University of Georgia

visit author page

John Mativo teaches Energy Systems and Principles of Technology at The University of Georgia. His research interests include design and innovation, and engineering education. His university teaching totals twelve years six of which he served as Department of Technology Chair at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton. He holds degrees in Engineering, Education, and Technology. He is a member of Sigma Xi, Epsilon Pi Tau, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Delta.

visit author page

author page

Nadia Kellam University of Georgia

Download Paper |

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

Responsiveness of Engineering Curricula to Cultural and Societal Changes

Abstract Throughout history there has been a call for change in engineering education. Since the early 20th century, there has been a national concern for the state of engineering education as can be seen by reports by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, National Science Board, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council1. Much of the focus of these reports has been on graduate outcomes, with less focus on the attributes of the student entering engineering school. Previous research suggests that today’s incoming students have a different set of abilities when they arrive at the university than those from previous generations. For example, they do not have experience working on lawn mowers and cars, but do have experiences playing advanced computer games. These different experiences result in different competencies. This change in student’s competencies across generations led the authors to investigate the following research question: How responsive has the engineering curriculum and accreditation requirements been to cultural and societal changes? Authors investigate the conditions of three time periods namely: 1800’s to pre-world war II (apprentice, vocational focused), World War II to 2000 (engineering Sciences focused), and 2000 to present (outcome focused). The guiding questions that helped answer the main research question are the following:

• What experiences did a typical student have prior to entering an engineering program in each time period?

• What were the accreditation requirements during each of the time periods?

• What was a typical curriculum within each of the time periods? Findings from this effort will provide recommendations to improve engineering curricula based on the experience and skills of the incoming student population and to eventually provide accreditation recommendations based on the findings. Introduction A search for the definition of responsiveness from dictionary.com2 yielded the following: “the ability of a machine or system to adjust quickly to suddenly altered external conditions, as of speed, load, or temperature, and to resume stable operation without undue delay; and answering or replying”. Therefore, to be able to meaningfully study curricula responsiveness to a cultural and societal change, it necessary to search and compare events and conditions surrounding those changes involved and the timeliness of the stimuli. American society has changed over time and changes have brought about unique needs. The responsiveness of engineering curricula and accreditation requirements to cultural and societal changes is critical, as a different set of cultural

Mativo, J., & Kellam, N. (2008, June), Responsiveness Of Engineering Curricula To Cultural And Societal Changes Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3695

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: © 2008 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