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Striking A Balance: Bringing Engineering Disciplines Together For A Senior Design Sequence

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Multi-disciplinary Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1024.1 - 7.1024.15



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Paper Authors

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Robert B. Stone

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Nancy Hubing

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Session 3225

Striking a Balance: Bringing Engineering Disciplines Together for a Senior Design Sequence

Robert B. Stone and Nancy Hubing

Basic Engineering Department, University of Missouri-Rolla E-mail: and


Historically, the essence of engineering is the act of creating products to improve society. More than ever, today’s engineers are expected to work across disciplines to design increasingly complicated products. At the University of Missouri-Rolla, we have introduced an interdisciplinary design curriculum to teach core engineering design skills across departmental lines (electrical and computer engineering; engineering management; and mechanical engineering) while simultaneously utilizing individual engineering disciplines within systems- level design courses.

The format of the interdisciplinary design curriculum is a two-semester senior year sequence. In the first semester, engineering design theory and methodology is covered. Hands-on projects give students an immediate avenue to actively experiment with the design topics through reverse engineering and redesign projects and an original design project. Project management and teaming skills are covered during the first semester as well. With design tools and methods in hand from the first semester course, student teams in the second semester projects course complete a semester long project and produce a working prototype. This year the project is sponsored by an Army advanced technology group that provides a prototyping budget and technical review services. In addition to weekly lectures, student teams work with one, or possibly several, faculty advisors from appropriate departments who serve as technical experts for the project.

The interdisciplinary design curriculum pushes design education to more accurately reflect current engineering design practice in today’s technological workplace. Over the history of engineering, the engineering education pendulum has swung between the extremes of a vocational, apprentice-like education and a strict, theory-based engineering science approach. The design curriculum proposed here is our attempt to strike an appropriate balance between engineering science and the ability to produce physical artifacts.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Stone, R. B., & Hubing, N. (2002, June), Striking A Balance: Bringing Engineering Disciplines Together For A Senior Design Sequence Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10433

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