Systemic Reform in Engineering Education at Penn State - Educating World Class Engineers

Project: Research project

Project Details




The proposed work addresses the systemic reform that is required to produce engineers who are 'world-class,' i. e., capable of operating in the global, environmentally conscious and highly competitive world of today. Five engineering departments will undertake systemic reforms of their core curricula and their approaches to teaching and learning. The plans for these reforms were created with the following common goals:

1. Students will apply and integrate their knowledge and skills, and develop lifelong learning

skills through multiple design/project-based experiences;

2. Students will develop a 'customer-orientation' and higher levels of motivation for meaningful learning through direct, multi-faceted involvement with industry and industry-based projects;

3. Students will be engaged in meaningful learning through extensive use of collaborative and cooperative learning methods.

While these goals have been addressed successfully in individual courses at Penn State and elsewhere, they have not previously been implemented in the systemic fashion envisioned in this proposal; nor have the development and assessment of lifelong learning skills been so extensively addressed in engineering education. When completed, the proposed work-will reform 24 courses and affect more than 1400 students each year in Chemical, Civil, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering, as well as Engineering Mechanics. As the continuation of a long-term transformation of engineering education to produce 'World-Class Engineers,' these efforts will also put into place the foundations upon which future reforms will be built. In addition, dissemination of results from the proposed work, to the wider engineering community, will contribute thoroughly assessed approaches to systemic reform in five different departments as well as methodologies and assessment tools for the development of lifelong learning skills.

Effective start/end date10/1/999/30/03


  • National Science Foundation: $500,000.00


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