In April 2009, with support provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Engineering’s Committee on Engineering Education hosted a one and one-half day workshop focused on exploring how engineering curricula could be enhanced to better prepare future engineers. The workshop included individuals from industry, university faculty and administrators, and representatives from government agencies and professional societies.
Topics addressed in the workshop included (a) the rationale for the scope and sequence of current engineering curricula, considering both the positive aspects as well as those aspects that have outlived their usefulness, (b) the potential to enhance engineering curricula through creative uses of instructional technologies, (c) the importance of inquiry-based activities as well as authentic learning experiences grounded in real world contexts, and (d) the opportunities provided by looking more deeply at what personal and professional outcomes result from studying engineering.
General themes that appeared to underlie the workshop attendees’ discussions included desires to (a) restructure engineering curricula to focus on inductive teaching and learning, (b) apply integrated, just-in-time learning of relevant topics across STEM fields, and (c) make more extensive use and implementation of learning technologies.
During breakout discussions, many suggestions were offered for means by which to facilitate curricular innovation. These included (a) expanding faculty and administrator communication networks, (b) increasing faculty incentives, and (c) enhancing interactions among stakeholders of engineering education.