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Using Student Led Current Events Discussions To Meet Specific Abet Outcomes Through Engineering Economy

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Economy: Beyond the Classroom

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1564.1 - 12.1564.9



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Paper Authors


Jeannette Russ Union University

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JEANNETTE RUSS is Associate Professor of Engineering at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Prior to joining Union, Dr. Russ worked at Hewlett-Packard for several years.

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Doanh Van Union University

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DOANH VAN is Associate Professor & Chair of the Engineering Department at Union University ( since 2001. Prior to joining Union, Dr. Van served as Sr. Manager of Energy and Environmental Affairs for Pfizer, Inc. with global corporate responsibilities. He is both a mechanical and environmental engineer. He has over 20 years of industrial experience.

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

Using Student-led Current Events Discussions to Meet Specific ABET Outcomes through Engineering Economy


While engineering departments tend to have many avenues for meeting ABET outcomes that are directly related to technical skills, it can be more challenging to find ways to address the outcomes related to “soft skills.” At Union University, we have found that the standard engineering economy course provides an ideal atmosphere for delivering some of these broad- based goals. Specifically, we have been successful in using student-led discussions of current events related to engineering economics to directly address outcomes J (knowledge of contemporary issues) and I (recognition of the need for lifelong learning). These discussions also more obliquely address outcomes F (understanding of professional and ethical responsibility), G (ability to communicate effectively), and H (understanding of global and societal impact of engineering solutions).

This paper will describe how the current events discussions have been managed and how effective the resulting classroom interaction has been during the four years this technique has been formally used in the engineering economy course at Union University. It will also present specific student feedback, along with a three-step process for interfacing the engineering economy course to selected ABET outcomes.

Background and Goals

The engineering department at Union University was established in 2001 and earned ABET accreditation in 2006. As a new program, our classes are small; for example, engineering economy classes have had 2, 3, 4, and 6 students. One could argue that techniques used in such small classes cannot be successfully transferred to larger classes, but we believe they can and will provide suggestions for use by large classes in the section entitled “Limitations and Ideas for Future Development.”

Since we have recently been through the accreditation process for the first time, we have had the opportunity to design a program from the ground up to meet the still relatively new Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC 2000). While no one suggests that the criteria are perfect, we have found that they do indeed allow flexibility to “focus on what is learned rather than what is taught,” as ABET asserts in its organizational history.1 The use of current events in the engineering economy course has been one of our direct attempts to encourage student learning, but we readily admit that using current events is not a particularly novel idea. In fact, others have introduced more formalized methods of integrating current events throughout the engineering economy course.2 The main contribution of this paper is to demonstrate how this common-sense element of teaching engineering economy can be implemented, measured, and documented in a way that meets ABET requirements without placing a large administrative burden on the professor.

Russ, J., & Van, D. (2007, June), Using Student Led Current Events Discussions To Meet Specific Abet Outcomes Through Engineering Economy Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2971

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