Asee peer logo

Teaching Non Engineers The Engineering Thought Process With Environmental Engineering As The Instrument

Download Paper |

Conference

2005 Annual Conference

Location

Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

10.1220.1 - 10.1220.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/15248

Download Count

136

Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Marie Johnson

author page

Jason Lynch

author page

Michael Butkus

Download Paper |

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

Teaching Non-Engineers the Engineering Thought Process with Environmental Engineering as the Instrument

Jason C. Lynch, Michael A. Butkus, and Marie C. Johnson

Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996

Abstract

Environmental engineering is a broad discipline with seven areas of specialty as identified by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. Based on application of the environmental engineering program criteria, an ABET accredited program’s curriculum requires students to have familiarity with each of these specialty areas. The challenge in an undergraduate program is to provide this breadth of material coverage while simultaneously presenting courses in a logical fashion so that they build upon and reinforce one another and not appear as individual, disjointed topics. Aligning courses and their content with the engineering thought process is one approach that can achieve both objectives. This paper describes how this concept is applied to a three course engineering sequence offered as a part of a core curriculum to non-engineering students at the United States Military Academy. Engineering design steps such as problem definition, design and analysis are linked with fundamental environmental engineering concepts like risk assessment, pollutant partitioning, and materials balance. Examples of how course objectives, laboratory exercises, and course projects are associated across the program using this framework are provided. By presenting environmental engineering topics oriented along a common theme that is known by the student and reinforced throughout the program of study, these students will be better equipped to solve complex, environmentally related problems and better prepared for specialization in future graduate studies.

Introduction

Founded in 1802, the United States Military Academy (West Point) was the nation’s first engineering school. Over the years as missions and requirements changed West Point broadened its academic diversity and is no longer strictly an engineering school and today offers majors in 31 different academic disciplines that culminate in a Bachelor of Science degree. The division between cadets majoring in Math, Science, and Engineering (MSE) and Humanities and Social Sciences (HPA) has been relatively even (Figure 1). Regardless of major, every cadet’s core curriculum includes an MSE thread. Courses in this thread are intended to “provide cadets a foundation of fundamental scientific facts and principles, an understanding of the engineering process by which these principles are applied to serve human purposes, and the capacity to use sound methods for analyzing and dealing with scientific and technical matters.”1 This MSE thread is in part fulfilled by a three course engineering sequence. West Point offers seven different engineering sequences from which non-engineering majors can select. The seven

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Johnson, M., & Lynch, J., & Butkus, M. (2005, June), Teaching Non Engineers The Engineering Thought Process With Environmental Engineering As The Instrument Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/15248

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: © 2005 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