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Results from the AIChE Education Annual Survey: Chemical Engineering Electives

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Curriculum Development and Assessment in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1050.1 - 24.1050.11



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Paper Authors


Margot A. Vigeant Bucknell University

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Margot is a professor of chemical engineering and an associate dean of the college of engineering at Bucknell University. Her interests include conceptual learning in engineering, active, collaborative, and problem-based learning, and how the use of technology and games can engage students.

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David L. Silverstein P.E. University of Kentucky

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David L. Silverstein is the PJC Engineering Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He is also the Director of the College of Engineering's Extended Campus Programs in Paducah, Kentucky, where he has taught for 14 years. His PhD and MS studies in ChE were completed at Vanderbilt University, and his BSChE at the University of Alabama. Silverstein's research interests include conceptual learning tools and training, and he has particular interests in faculty development. He is the recipient of several ASEE awards, including the Fahein award for young faculty teaching and educational scholarship, the Cororan award for best article in the journal Chemical Engineering Education (twice), and the Martin award for best paper in the ChE Division at the ASEE Annual Meeting.

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The  AIChE  Education  Division  survey  committee  continues  the  tradition  of  an  annual  national  survey  to  better  understand  the  current  state  of  a  particular  aspect  of  the  chemical  engineering  curriculum.    In  2013,  the  committee  asked  departments  about  chemical  engineering  electives.    This  paper  summarizes  the  results  from  the  multiple  choice  survey  as  well  as  from  selected  answers  to  a  long-­‐form  follow  up  survey  sent  to  volunteer  departments.    We  defined  “chemical  engineering  electives”  as  courses  offered  by  the  chemical  engineering  department  or  faculty  that  may  be  taken  by  undergraduate  students  but  are  not  specifically  required  in  order  to  graduate.    The  word  that  best  fits  chemical  engineering  electives  is  “diverse”.    It  might  be  argued  that  the  clearest  differentiator  between  chemical  engineering  undergraduate  programs  is  the  set  of  areas  highlighted  by  their  elective  offerings.    Nearly  100  different  elective  course  topics  were  reported  by  the  96  programs  responding  to  the  survey.    The  most  popular  topical  offerings  are  in  Polymer  Science,  Bioprocess  Engineering,  Nanomaterials,  and  Advanced  Transport.    Typically,  undergraduates  are  expected  to  take  2-­‐3  chemical  engineering  elective  courses,  although  the  range  spans  from  zero  to  6.    It  should  be  noted  that  the  programs  requiring  zero  chemical  engineering  electives  usually  require  instead  “technical”,  “engineering”,  or  “science”  electives  in  similar  quantity  to  the  chemical  engineering  electives  offered  by  other  departments.      In  addition  to  the  numerical  summary  results,  we  will  also  report  on  department  chairs’  responses  to  the  administrative  question  of  how  topics  are  selected,  integrated,  or  removed  from  year  to  year.  

Vigeant, M. A., & Silverstein, D. L. (2014, June), Results from the AIChE Education Annual Survey: Chemical Engineering Electives Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22983

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