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The "T-Shaped" Engineer

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division – Tactical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Education

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1507.1 - 26.1507.18



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Paper Authors


Peter Rogers The Ohio State University

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Dr. Peter Rogers,
Professor of Practice
Engineering Education Innovation Center
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210

Rogers joined the university in October, 2008 bringing with him 35 years of industrial experience. His career includes senior leadership roles in engineering, sales, and manufacturing, developing products using multidisciplinary teams to convert customer needs to commercially viable products and services. He brings this experience to the university where he leads the effort in developing experiential, multidisciplinary learning.

Rogers co-developed the ABET approved year-long Capstone design experience. With a focus on providing students with a broader experience base, the multidisciplinary program applies teams of engineers, business, design, and other students to work with Ohio companies to help them be more competitive and with local non-profits to help them become self-sustaining. Using a formal design process, teams develop new products to meet industries’ competitive needs or those of people with disabilities. Students learn to solve open-ended problems and gain skills in critical thinking, professional communication, ethics, and teamwork. Rogers recently expanded this one-year program to a four-year Integrated Engineering and Business (IBE) honors program.

Rogers earned his PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst focused on Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing and holds the position of Professor of Practice at The Ohio State University.

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Richard J. Freuler Ohio State University

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Richard J. Freuler is the Director for the Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program in the OSU Engineering Education Innovation Center. He teaches the two-semester FEH engineering course sequence and is active in engineering education research. He is also a Professor of Practice in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and conducts scale model investigations of gas turbine installations for jet engine test cells and for marine and industrial applications of gas turbines at the Aerospace Research Center at Ohio State. Dr. Freuler earned his Bachelor of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (1974), his B.S. in Computer and Information Science (1974), his M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering (1974), and his Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (1991) all from The Ohio State University.

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The "T-shaped" EngineerGlobal changes create competitive pressures for U.S. industry, generating the need for an ever-increasing level of broadly-educated engineering students entering the workplace. This notionhas been communicated through the NAE ("The Engineer of 2020") and more recently byASEE's "Transforming Undergraduate Engineering Education (TUEE)" workshop whereindustry and academic participants “seek a T-shaped engineering graduate who brings broadknowledge across domains and the ability to collaborate within a diverse workforce as well asdeep expertise within a single domain”. These and other industry feedback encourage us torethink the way we deliver engineering education. Recent engineering graduates continually findthemselves learning on-the-job business acumen, struggling with open-ended problem solving,working for perhaps the first time on multidisciplinary teams, and learning how to communicatewithin and outside the organization. Many companies respond to these challenges by investingin multi-year training programs for new hires to augment engineering education with a broaderset of skills.To better prepare students for these rapidly changing industry needs, the institute developed andnow offers a newly-approved multidisciplinary undergraduate honors program—combiningengineering and business students in an integrated four-year curriculum. Students in theIntegrated Business and Engineering (IBE) program study and work as a cohort throughout theirundergraduate experience. They supplement their standard curriculum with core courses of theopposite degree and take a sequence of dedicated IBE courses and seminars focused onexperiential, entrepreneurial, and multidisciplinary learning. Student teams apply classroomtheory and tools to real-world practice and open-ended problem solving. The program provideseach student the opportunity to develop the professional tools and skills required to meet today’sglobal challenges—preparing them to make significant contributions to industry right out ofcollege. IBE students are better prepared to migrate to leadership positions and to understand themanagement challenges to compete in our global economy. Industry partners interested ininterfacing early on with our top students contribute to the program by counseling on curriculumdesign, hiring interns, sponsoring cornerstone and capstone projects, holding in-class workshops,and participating in extra-curricular activities.The IBE program recruits a small percentage of business and engineering honors studentsaccepted at the institute each year. The curriculum is not for the faint of heart. Students mustmaintain a 3.5 GPA throughout the four years, and those entering college with substantial credittoward their degree are the most likely candidates to succeed. IBE students finish with abachelor's degree in their home program, a minor in the opposite program, and diplomarecognition for completing the IBE Honors program. Effectiveness of the program is currentlymeasured qualitatively by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from hiring companies andinternal summary reports on the first two cohorts. First graduates of the program are slated forspring 2017 when authentic assessments will begin validating the program.REFERENCES:“The Engineer of 2020, Visions of Engineering in the New Century,” National Academy ofEngineering, Phase I Report, Washington, DC, 2004.“Transforming Undergraduate Education in Engineering, Phase I: Synthesizing and IntegratingIndustry Perspectives,” American Society for Engineering Education, Workshop Report,Washington, DC, May 9-10, 2013.

Rogers, P., & Freuler, R. J. (2015, June), The "T-Shaped" Engineer Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24844

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