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Using The Design Process For Curriculum Improvement

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

ABET Issues and Capstone Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1432.1 - 10.1432.14



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Paper Authors

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John Lamancusa

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Laura L. Pauley

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Thomas Litzinger

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

Paper 2005-1462 Session 3266

Using the Design Process for Curriculum Improvement

Laura L. Pauley, John S. Lamancusa, Thomas A. Litzinger Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Penn State University

Abstract This paper describes the process that was used to review and improve the Mechanical Engineering curriculum at Penn State University. The improvement process applied design methodology to review the present curriculum, develop alternate curriculum models, and evaluate those models. The curriculum models that were developed and challenges in implementing this process are also described.

Introduction The B.S. Mechanical Engineering program at Penn State graduates approximately 230 students each year. The forty full-time equivalent faculty in Mechanical Engineering teach the ME courses and are also expected to be active in research in their area of specialty. Approximately 60% of the students in mechanical engineering start at University Park while the others start at one of eighteen campus locations. Since required courses in the program must be available at all campus locations, the Penn State curriculum can not have specialized mechanical engineering courses in the first two years. The B.S.M.E. curriculum contains 137 semester credits. This is one of the highest degree credit requirements at Penn State and one of the highest for B.S.M.E. degrees around the country. The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering (MNE) at Penn State has been heavily involved in curricular improvement, both in the college and in the department. College- level programs such as the NSF-funded Engineering Coalition of Schools for Excellence in Education and Leadership (ECSEL), the Learning Factory, and the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education have benefited from the involvement of MNE faculty in leadership positions. These organizations have inspired several department-level demonstration projects that have been highly successful. Through these initiatives, cost-effective ways to incorporate active learning into MNE courses have been developed, with demonstrated improvements in student learning. The faculty has observed benefits from active learning components in the knowledge and interest that students display in their courses and in engineering in general. Motivated by a number of factors including the new ABET Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC2000) and feedback from our industry advisory committee, the department is currently working to incorporate and implement these teaching innovations across the curriculum.

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

Lamancusa, J., & Pauley, L. L., & Litzinger, T. (2005, June), Using The Design Process For Curriculum Improvement Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14444

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