This publication presents 29 programs that have successfully infused real world experiences into engineering or engineering technology undergraduate education. The Real World Engineering Education committee acknowledges the vision of AMD in supporting this project, which provides useful exemplars for institutions of higher education who seek model programs for infusing real world experiences in their programs. The NAE selection committee was impressed by the number of institutions committed to grounding their programs in real world experience and by the quality, creativity, and diversity of approaches reflected in the submissions.
“Historically, engineers have received excellent technical education, but have generally lacked formal training in the additional skills required to succeed in today’s globally connected, rapidly evolving workplace. Young engineers need to be taught how to think independently, communicate clearly and adapt to change to become leaders in the global marketplace.”
Senior VP and CTO,
A call for nominations sent to engineering and engineering technology deans, chairs, and faculty yielded 95 high-quality submissions. Two conditions were required of the nominations: (1) an accredited 4-year undergraduate engineering or engineering technology program was the lead institution, and (2) the nominated program started operation no later than the fall 2010 semester. Within these broad parameters, nominations ranged from those based on innovations within a single course to enhancements across an entire curriculum or institution. The full list is provided beginning on page 36.
Committee members assessed the nominations based on each program’s creativity, innovation, attention to diversity (geographic, institutional, racial/ethnic, gender), anticipated vs. actual outcomes, sustainability plan, assessment of student learning, and level of real world experience.* Although all nominated programs received good scores for one or more of the assessment criteria, the programs chosen as exemplars were rated highly on all or most of the aforementioned factors and were particularly distinguished by their plans and/or performance with respect to sustainability, assessment, and diversity. In making its selections, the committee also considered the ease of replication of a particular program at another institution, and/or its scalability to include more students and faculty. Finally, the committee chose to highlight a variety of program types (e.g., courses, full curricula, extracurricular programs) and a variety of institution types to illustrate a diversity of effective approaches to infusing real world experiences into engineering education.
This publication is intended to provide sufficient information to enable engineering and engineering technology faculty and administrators to assess and adapt effective, innovative models of programs to their own institution’s objectives. Recognizing that change is rarely trivial, the project included a brief survey of selected engineering deans concerning the adoption of such programs, and, based on their feedback, the report briefly addresses possible impediments and workarounds.
Organization of This Publication
A summary of the barriers to implementation begins on this page. The list of nominated programs begins on page 36 and a list of selected exemplar programs is on pages 5-6. The program descriptions begin on page 7 and are organized according to broad categories: Capstone (senior design courses), Course/Curricular (courses other than capstone or first-year design, or programs that encompass entire curricula), Co-Op (students receive course credit working for industry partners), Extracurricular (not for course credit), First Year (program is focused entirely on first-year students), Global (includes an international travel component), and Service-Learning (courses include projects for community partners). Programs that qualify for more than one category are organized according to their primary designation.
* It should be noted that two members of the committee recused themselves from the discussions and rating of nominations from their home institutions: Dr. Leah Jamieson of Purdue University and Dr. David Wormley of Pennsylvania State University.