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“Write Things Worth Reading, Or Do Things Worth The Writing:” A Dual Degree Program In Engineering And The Liberal Arts

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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

Integrating H&SS in Engineering I

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1489.1 - 10.1489.15



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Paper Authors

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Jerome Lavelle

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Joseph Herkert

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

Session 2161

“Write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing:” A dual-degree program in engineering and the liberal arts Joseph R. Herkert, Jerome P. Lavelle North Carolina State University

If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead & rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing. --Benjamin Franklin

I. Introduction

In recent years, much has been written about the role of liberal education in engineering, especially in light of Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC 2000) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) (for example, see [1,2]). While some attention has been focused on traditional three-two programs or Bachelors/Masters Programs, little has been focused on dual degree programs in engineering and non-technical fields. In this paper we present a status report on the Benjamin Franklin Scholars (BFS) Dual-Degree Program now in its fifteenth year of operation at North Carolina State University. Students in the program earn a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering or computer science from the College of Engineering, and a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students may elect second majors in traditional academic departments such as English, History, Political Science, and Anthropology, or pursue interdisciplinary majors in Arts Applications, Science, Technology, and Society, or a self-designed option in Multidisciplinary Studies. In addition, all students enroll in a series of three courses that illustrate the mutual interaction of engineering and society in the areas of contemporary human values, ethical dimensions of progress, and technology assessment and policy. Through the first ten cohorts of graduates, more than seventy-five students have completed the program and gone on to careers in business, industry, and government, or to graduate and professional study in engineering, computer science, medicine, law, and public policy.

In addition to providing details of the Program’s curriculum and course offerings, we discuss co- curricular activities that have proven vital to the success of the Program, including social, professional, and service events conducted by the Franklin Student Council, and program recognition of outstanding students on the basis of academic achievement and community service. We also focus on the nuts-and-bolts of running the program including program administration; funding for scholarships, faculty support, and co-curricular activities; and student recruitment, selection, and advising. We report on program retention rates and placement of students following graduation, and conclude with discussion of ongoing challenges.

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

Lavelle, J., & Herkert, J. (2005, June), “Write Things Worth Reading, Or Do Things Worth The Writing:” A Dual Degree Program In Engineering And The Liberal Arts Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15374

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