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Service Learning As A Strategy For Engineering Education For The 21 St Century

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.355.1 - 2.355.8



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Paper Authors

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C. Dianne Martin

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Edmund Tsang

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Rand Decker

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

Session 3230

Service Learning as a Strategy for Engineering Education for the 21ST Century

Edmund Tsang, C. Dianne Martin, Rand Decker University of South Alabama /The George Washington University / University of Utah


Service learning is an effective strategy to enable engineering schools to attain the objectives outlined in recent reports on reforming the undergraduate engineering curriculum for the 21st Century. service learning is a method under which students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized activities that are conducted in and meet the needs of a community. The objective of this paper is to introduce readers to the possibility of service learning as a viable pedagogic method in undergraduate engineering education. Courses from three different engineering curricula are described in this paper to illustrate how service learning can be integrated in a wide variety of courses in the engineering discipline. Service learning as a pedagogy can be used to enhance student learning while building university-community ties and addressing the many education, health and environmental needs in our community.


Education that is grounded in experience as a basis for learning is not new, and community service by students in institutions of higher learning has a long history in the United States1. service learning is defined as a method by which students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service activities that meet the needs of a community; is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students; and is coordinated with community organizations including K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning2. In service learning, community needs are defined by the community partners. Federal support for service learning originated from President George Bush's "A Thousand Points of Light" initiative, with the culmination of the U.S. Congress passing the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1990 and the creation of the Corporation for National Service (CNS).

This paper describes three examples of implementing service learning in engineering curricula that received direct and indirect funding support from CNS: 1) the Mechanical Engineering curriculum at the University of South Alabama, 2) the Electrical Engineering and Computing Science curriculum at George Washington University, and 3) the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at University of Utah.


Integrating Service Learning into a First-Year Mechanical Engineering Course

The faculty of the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department at the University of South Alabama

Martin, C. D., & Tsang, E., & Decker, R. (1997, June), Service Learning As A Strategy For Engineering Education For The 21 St Century Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6776

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