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The Emerging Discipline Of Engineering Education

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Expert Advice on Instructional Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1254.1 - 9.1254.7

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Paper Authors

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Phillip Wankat

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


The Emergence of Engineering Education as a Scholarly Discipline Phillip C. Wankat School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University

“It is essential that those selected to teach be trained properly for this function.”2

Abstract Changes in engineering education are part of a national trend to develop the scholarship of teaching and learning in all disciplines. As many engineering faculty have realized, content knowledge alone is not sufficient to be a good teacher. Pedagogical skills are required as well. Unfortunately, this need has been only partially met with workshops and summer programs instead of a systematic reorganization of graduate education. Recent developments such as changing ABET requirements and NSF education and CAREER grants have highlighted the importance of formal training in pedagogy. Teaching, learning, and the scholarship of teaching and learning are central to the emerging discipline of engineering education. All engineering professors can become effective and efficient teachers, assess student learning, and improve engineering education. And for professors interested in engineering education, this discipline will also provide a new career path.

A Short History This short history is based on Grayson’s1 history of engineering education in the United States and Canada. Formal education in engineering in the United States started in 1802 at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The first civilian institution teaching engineering was the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy (now Norwich University) closely followed by the Rensselaer Institute which awarded the first engineering degrees (in civil engineering) in 1835. Although these efforts preceded the organization of professional societies that started with the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1852, many of the early engineers in these societies were either self-trained or had served apprenticeships. At the end of the Civil War only about twenty engineering programs were operating in the United States. With the Morrill Land Grant act this number rapidly increased to seventy by 1872. Yet despite this increase, it was only gradually that a formal college education in engineering was required to become an engineer.

From the beginning, engineering educators were interested in improving engineering education. In 1893 the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education (SPEE, which became ASEE in 1946) was formed at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The original publication was the Proceedings based on papers and the minutes of the board meeting at the annual meeting. SPEE started the Bulletin as a monthly magazine in 1910 and changed the name six years later to Engineering Education. When this journal was merged with the Proceedings in 1924, it became the Journal of Engineering Education, which later shortened the name back to Engineering Education. This magazine continued as a mix of scholarly and popular articles until 1991 when publication temporarily ceased. ASEE PRISM was started that year and the new Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) was started in January 1993. Separate Proceedings

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Wankat, P. (2004, June), The Emerging Discipline Of Engineering Education Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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: © 2004 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