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Two University Cooperation: Paradigm For The Future Of Statewide Engineering Education

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.493.1 - 1.493.11

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Paper Authors

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R. Rinker

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J. Peterson

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H. Hess

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Richard Wall

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Kathy Belknap

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

Session 2432

Two-University Cooperation: Paradigm for the Future of Statewide Engineering Education

H. Hess, R. Rinker, R. Wall, J. Peterson, K. Belknap University of Idaho Cooperative Engineering Education in Boise Boise, Idaho


To establish engineering education in a new location, a method of cooperation between universities is recommended as an alternative to the "build another college to satisfy local demands" mania. Motivation for this innovative method is presented with a concise history of an actual two- university cooperative engineering program. A model for a successful "virtual department" in two locations is proposed. Administrative structure, budget realities, and curriculum issues are discussed in some detail. Solutions are given for several difficulties that were encountered, including the reasons for seeking separate ABET accreditation for each location. The ideas in this paper outline a low-cost, high quality alternative for providing engineering education in multiple locations. The combined, coordinated resources from two universities form a system stronger than its parts. Innovative application of affordable advanced communications technology strongly enhances the program's unity and its curriculum. This experience suggests this cooperative model is a realistic alternative to the proliferation of multiple, but isolated, engineering colleges in a state or a geographic region.


ASEE Prism recently noted a proliferation in the number of engineering programs offered in the United States.[1] Many of these are new, independent colleges or programs. While expressing appreciation for the increased recognition of engineering education's importance, concern for the survival of so many schools did appear in the Prism article. Very practical people have questioned the wisdom of building a new engineering school in every city that demands one. [1] The issue centers around the high cost of engineering education programs.

In the late 1980s, the Regents of the State of Idaho took a different and very innovative approach to local demand for an engineering college in Boise, the state capital. Rather than create a separate new engineering college in Boise, a cooperative relationship was established between the University of Idaho (UI) and Boise State University (BSU) for the purpose of offering engineering on BSU's campus. UI has more than a century of experience in engineering education in Moscow, Idaho, and BSU, without an engineering school, is located over 500 km of winding mountain roads to the south with most of the state's population and industry, as shown on the map in Figure 1. This cooperative arrangement is a large piece of a coordinated UI effort to deliver engineering education statewide.[3] Other locations of focused

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Rinker, R., & Peterson, J., & Hess, H., & Wall, R., & Belknap, K. (1996, June), Two University Cooperation: Paradigm For The Future Of Statewide Engineering Education Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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