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Robotics as an Undergraduate Major: A Retrospective

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Robotics, Mechatronics, and Control Systems - Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1049.1 - 23.1049.23



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Paper Authors


Michael A. Gennert Worcester Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Prof. Michael A. Gennert is Director of the Robotics Engineering Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he is Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has worked at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA, the University of California/Riverside, General Electric Ordnance Systems, Pittsfield, MA and PAR Technology Corporation, New Hartford, NY. He received the S.B. in Computer Science, S.B. in Electrical Engineering, and S.M. in Electrical Engineering in 1980 and the Sc.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1987 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Gennert is interested in Computer Vision, Image Processing, Scientific Databases, and Programming Languages, with ongoing projects in biomedical image processing, robotics, and stereo and motion vision. He is author or co-author of over 100 papers. He is a member of Sigma Xi, NDIA Robotics Division, and the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council Robotics Cluster, and a senior member of IEEE and ACM.

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Taskin Padir Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Robotics as an Undergraduate Major: A 5 year RetrospectiveAbstract:In 2007 XYZ University launched a degree program in Robotics to educate young men andwomen in robotics. While many universities include robotics as an element within a disciplinesuch as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering, XYZ Universitytook a decidedly different approach. We introduced Robotics as a new multi-disciplinaryengineering discipline to meet the needs of 21st century engineering. The curriculum, designedtop-down, incorporates a number of best practices, including spiral curriculum, a unified set ofcore courses, multiple pathways, inclusion of social issues and entrepreneurship, an emphasis onprojects-based learning, and capstone design projects. This paper provides a 5-year overview ofand retrospective on the program. The curriculum has evolved rapidly from the original to itscurrent state, including changes in requirements, courses, hardware, software, labs, and projects.The guiding philosophy remains unchanged, however, providing continuity of purpose to theprogram. The program has been highly successful in meeting its desired outcomes, including:quantity and quality of enrolled students, ABET EAC accreditation, graduate placement in jobsand graduate school, and course and project evaluations. The paper concludes with a summaryof lessons learned and projections for the future.

Gennert, M. A., & Padir, T. (2013, June), Robotics as an Undergraduate Major: A Retrospective Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22434

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