Asee peer logo

Teaching Engineering in the General Education Curriculum

Download Paper |

Conference

2020 First-Year Engineering Experience

Location

East Lansing, Michigan

Publication Date

July 26, 2020

Start Date

July 26, 2020

End Date

July 28, 2020

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35779

Download Count

34

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Kevin Skenes The Citadel

visit author page

Kevin Skenes is an assistant professor at The Citadel. His research interests include non-destructive evaluation, photoelasticity, manufacturing processes, and engineering education.

visit author page

biography

Robert J. Rabb P.E. The Citadel

visit author page

Robert Rabb is a professor and the Mechanical Engineering Program Director at The Citadel. He previously taught mechanical engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and his M.S.E. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests are in mechatronics, regenerative power, and multidisciplinary engineering.

visit author page

biography

Nathan John Washuta P.E. The Citadel Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4575-0564

visit author page

Dr. Nathan Washuta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. He received both his B.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Maryland – College Park. His primary research interests include Hydrodynamics, Turbulence, and Experimental Methods.

visit author page

biography

James Righter The Citadel

visit author page

James Righter is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering (SOE) at The Citadel. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy, his MS in Military Studies from the Marine Corps University Command and Staff College, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University. His research interests include design methods, engineering leadership, collaborative design, and engineering education.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Many engineering students are excited and motivated when they begin as freshman students, but many change majors or leave early in the first year, having limited exposure to engineering and an abundance to general education requirements. The Citadel had a very historic and outdated general education curriculum, with many courses in the Humanities, and some in basic science and math. After years of limited or no progress in students’ critical thinking over four years, the school revised its general education and opted for a strand model. One of the first courses freshmen now experience is a Freshman Seminar and linked composition course. Known as a high impact practice, the Freshman Seminar has been credibly shown to improve student retention and enhance student learning. The academic Freshman Seminar now serves as the common starting point for all entering freshman. It is one of three classes that require the students to produce work that will be graded on six General Education outcomes. The overall theme of the seminar, as well as the topics of the individual seminar sections, are determined by the faculty. Based on the freshman population, there are typically 14-28 different seminar topics and 18-23 sections with approximately 20 students per section. Because of the broad nature of the General Education outcomes, each seminar section varies in its particular topic, spanning many different disciplines. The School of Engineering at The Citadel used the curriculum update as an opportunity to engage both engineering and non-engineering students with engineering topics in the freshman seminars. The new plan calls for each section of the Freshman Seminar to be matched with a three-credit-hour composition course. The composition class is an essential complement to the academic seminar. The instructor of the composition class and the instructor of the seminar develop together their reading lists and assignments. This is the first of several opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration afforded faculty in the new GenEd plan. The freshman seminar exposes students to engineering beyond a calculated solution, allowing them to think through early decisions and consequences. For engineering students, this initiative helped them see additional pathways in engineering and their larger role. Students worked individually and in teams, and understand the types of knowledge and abilities essential to succeed. The objectives of this paper are to explain some of the Freshman Seminars that provide students with early exposure to engineering, to assess the results quantitatively and qualitatively through surveys, and to discuss the future direction of the program.

Skenes, K., & Rabb, R. J., & Washuta, N. J., & Righter, J. (2020, July), Teaching Engineering in the General Education Curriculum Paper presented at 2020 First-Year Engineering Experience, East Lansing, Michigan. https://peer.asee.org/35779

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: © 2020 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