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Scholarly Creative Engineering Design?

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Innovation and Measuring Success in Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1052.1 - 15.1052.8

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Paper Authors

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Robert Fleisig McMaster University

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Harry Mahler Ontario College of Art and Design

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


McMaster University has initiated a new Master of Engineering Design degree in

Graduates of engineering schools are well versed in first-principles approaches to technology application and must acquire new skills and competencies in innovation and design in order to become global leaders in their field. The leading thinkers in engineering design must be prepared to innovate continuously in the global marketplace. This program has come to fruition through the collaboration of two schools: Ontario College of Art and Design and McMaster University offering Industrial Design and Engineering Design expertise, respectively. This paper presents the current efforts in defining creative engineering practice and couching it in terms that can be assessed by both creative/engineering professionals/academia. The paper will review the philosophy behind the current program, curricula, and an example of student work. For engineering students, learning to become creative individuals requires a considerable degree of learning outside their normal world view, which, by definition, expands the definition of the engineering design practice. To be creative, engineering students must borrow from established, scholarly, practices in art and design. In particular, the program borrows heavily from traditions in inquiry in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. The principles behind these practices directly challenge the positivist practices underlying the expectations of the scholarly work that underpin a graduate degree in engineering design. The paper outlines current efforts that bridge this divide and thus create a new kind of individual: one who is competent with the use and application of scientific and mathematical principles but has the capacity for finding new and creative means for delivering human benefits with this knowledge.


McMaster University has initiated a new Master of Engineering Design degree in g design. The particular vision of the founders of the program three years ago, was to develop a program which will build a community that finds, educates, and supports individual engineers to take on leading roles in terms of developing not only sound engineer designs but be capable of leading organizations in terms of generating new ideas, that is, being creative and innovative. To that end, the program has partnered with Ontario College of Art and Design, - eative thinking whereas engineers -

The vision to become a leading centre of creative engineering design for academia, business, and the engineering profession is a much greater challenge than was originally imagined by the founders. The ideal product of the program is an individual with traits that stretch beyond conventional engineering education norms to include commitment to creating value, creativity, risk-taking, strong communication and interpersonal skills, business acumen, ability to integrate ideas, capability to explore ideas, and a capability to

Fleisig, R., & Mahler, H. (2010, June), Scholarly Creative Engineering Design? Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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: © 2010 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