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Teaching Engineering in the General Education Program at the University of Maryland

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Literacy: Champions of Engineering in General Education

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Robert M. Briber University of Maryland, College Park

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Robert M. Briber is a professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Associate Dean for Research for the College of Engineering at the University of Maryland. He was Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2003-2015. He has a B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University and a Ph.D. degree in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. His research areas are in the physics of polymers and the structural characterization of soft materials. He is a past President of the Neutron Scattering Society of America, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Neutron Scattering Society of America, a recipient of the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, a University of Maryland Distinguished-Scholar Teacher, a former editor of the Journal of Polymer Science. He teaches the class “Materials of Civilization”, an I-Series and a University of Maryland Marquee Science and Technology course.

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Romel D Gomez P.E. University of Maryland, College Park

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R.D. Mel Gomez is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Univesity of Maryland. He teaches engineering design, circuits, microelectronics, electromagnetics, quantum theory and magnetic technology. As the associate chair for undergraduate education, he helped strengthen the ECE curriculum in communications, embedded systems, cyber security, and power. He is the architect of a novel freshman course that introduces fundamental principles of ECE using hands-on pedagogy and a science course for non-STEM majors. Dr. Gomez is also a researcher in the broad areas of micromagnetism and biosensing. He has co-authored over 90 peer-reviewed publications, several book chapters and has three U.S. Patents. He earned his PhD from the University of Maryland, MS from Wayne State in University and BS from the University of the Philippines all in Physics. Among his awards are the ECE George Corcoran Award for engineering education, the NSF CAREER award, the Clark School of Engineering Kent Faculty Teaching Award, the CSE Keystone Professorship, the CSE Faculty Service Award, and the Distinguished Alumni in Science and Technology of the University of the Philippines. He has served as an Editor, an Editorial Board Member of the IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, the chair of the Technical Committee, and the General Chair of the Intermag Conference in 2006.

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The I-Series courses are a signature component of the General Education program (GenEd) at the University of Maryland (UMD). The I-Series program covers all disciplines at the university and all undergraduate students are required to complete at least two I-Series courses as part of their degree program. A full redesign of the UMD GenEd program was started in 2009 with implementation of the new program beginning in 2012. The A. James Clark School of Engineering at UMD now plays a significant role and offers courses throughout the GenEd program, a significant departure from the previous general education program that had been in place for more than 25 years and where the engineering college had played a very minor role. In particular, the engineering college now participates actively in the I-Series program (among other GenEd components). The courses engineering college teaches in the I-Series program arose out of a previous program called the Marquee Courses in Science and Technology which was started in 2007. The success of the precursor Marquee courses led directly to the formation of the I-Series program and expansion of the program to include all disciplines. The program arose from the realization of the following issues: - Many non-science/non-engineering students enroll at UMD with sufficient AP credits to place out of all campus requirements in science/technology. - This was resulting in some top students never taking a science or engineering related class during their UG degree education. - There is a need for science/engineering courses that non-majors want to take on topics of broad interest. These courses should not be a required introductory course for majors but unique stand-alone courses that expose students to a major problem or question that can be addressed through the underlying discipline. - The University wants students to be technologically literate so as future leaders they have the ability to understand and make decisions that involve technological solutions The engineering college agreed to offer up to 500 seats per year in the I-Series program, with the enrollment targeted for freshman and sophomore students from majors outside of engineering and the sciences. A partial list of I-Series courses include: BIOE289A, Designing a Sustainable World; ENCE189I Managing Natural Disasters: Hurricanes, Floods, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Tsunamis and Fires; ENCE289I Engineering in the Developing World; ENCE289 Transportation Innovation: Planes, Trains and Automobiles; ENEE131 The Future of Technology: Sustainable Development or Sensational Disaster?; ENMA150 Materials of Civilization; and ENEE133 Engineering and Modern Medicine: The Body as a Machine.

Details of the structure and implementation of the courses ENMA150 Materials of Civilization and ENEE133 Engineering and Modern Medicine: The Body as a Machine will be given.

Briber, R. M., & Gomez, R. D. (2017, June), Teaching Engineering in the General Education Program at the University of Maryland Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28913

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