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Teaching First Year Students Analytical Reasoning Using Interdisciplinary Teams

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Beyond the Engineering Classroom

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1137.1 - 14.1137.15



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Paper Authors

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Gary Bailey North Carolina A&T State University

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Cindy Waters North Carolina A&T State University

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



We argue in this paper for the formative value of general education to and for major- specific education within the public, state supported Agricultural and Technical University. In particular, we argue for the formative value of a first-year general education foundation course to the undergraduate Engineering curriculum. General education is often devalued by students as irrelevant and a waste of time. Students want major specific education, both because of their personal interests, and because of the perceived urgency to further their job and career goals. Major departments often want larger budgets which can result from high hours-requirements for their majors. Such desires can result in a correlative desire to take hours from general education in order to secure a larger share of the total possible hours for major hours. In addition, faculty members in major departments often deprecate general education as ‘soft,” unsophisticated, and intellectually and academically impoverished. We argue here for the positive value of general education. In particular, we argue for the positive value of a general education program centered on common foundation courses taken by all students at an institution. Even more particularly, we argue for the positive value of a foundation course, taken by all first- or second-year students, which introduces them to, and provides opportunities for them to practice, their critical, analytical, quantitative, and scientific reasoning skills. Most particularly, we argue for the positive value of such a course for undergraduate Engineering majors. In part one of our paper, we will correlate the goals, objectives, and curriculum of UNST 130 Analytical Reasoning, a general education foundation course at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with specific undergraduate Engineering major goals and objectives. In part two we will describe the origin and purpose of UNST 130. In part three we will describe the goals, objectives, and curriculum of UNST 130. In part four, we will highlight current assessment of student learning strategies and data from UNST 130 Analytical Reasoning and describe future assessment strategies that will test our thesis: that UNST 130 Analytical Reasoning is of positive value for the Engineering major curriculum.


UNST 130 Analytical Reasoning and the Engineering Major Curriculum at NCATSU

Engineering graduates face new challenges because of the revolution in communication and information technologies, the globalization of business, and increased emphasis on teamwork and accountability. It has been apparent for some time that engineering education must provide for students experience with the logical communication skills in the engineering profession. Recently, the National Academy of Engineering published The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century to predict the roles that engineers will play in the futurei. They stated that it is “appropriate that engineers are educated to understand and appreciate history, philosophy, culture, and the arts, along

Bailey, G., & Waters, C. (2009, June), Teaching First Year Students Analytical Reasoning Using Interdisciplinary Teams Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4863

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