Transformational Paradigm for Engineering and Engineering Technology Education


This paper discusses a transformational paradigm for engineering and engineering technology education at the baccalaureate level.

Creation Date: November 2008
UNT College of Engineering
UNT Scholarly Works
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Creator (Author):
Barbieri, Enrique

University of North Texas; University of Houston

Creator (Author):
Fitzgibbon, William

University of Houston

  • Creation: November 2008

This paper discusses a transformational paradigm for engineering and engineering technology education at the baccalaureate level.


Abstract: The knowledge explosion in science, technology, engineering & mathematics (STEM) over the past decades is unquestionably overwhelming. It is important that those involved in STEM quickly adapt. Life-long learning has taken a do-or-die slant, as technological breakthroughs turn obsolete within only a few years of their inception. Medical and law degree curricula became more "professional" and require a "pre-degree" status to be considered for admission. However, the traditional engineering degree plan is essentially the same as that of the mid 20th Century. Legislation in some states places additional pressure on baccalaureate degrees by questioning the need for anything above 120 credit hours. The result is (i) fewer engineering-specific courses; (ii) courses that heavily emphasize theory; and (iii) a subsequent reduction in hands-on, laboratory oriented, experimental learning. Engineering Technology curricula are designed to have experiential learning as the educational backbone. This forces a reduction in mathematical and scientific depth that is compensated by a richness of laboratory courses in almost one-to-one proportion to lecture courses, and which emphasize the application of engineering. The main challenges to establish and maintain experiential learning include (i) availability of slots in the curricula for laboratory courses; (ii) availability of funding for lab equipment and maintenance; (iii) space constraints exacerbated by the ongoing conversion of education laboratory space to graduate research space; and (iv) availability of dedicated faculty for instruction and preparation of labs that are modern, project-based, inquisitive, and synchronized with the lectures. The authors examine the factors that have prevented Engineering Schools & Colleges in the United States from following the medical or law models and advocate that Engineering Technology programs can play an important role in a new educational paradigm for Engineering Education. The model that the authors propose is based upon the thinking behind the Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate (CDIO™ initiative.

Physical Description:

15 p.

Keyword(s): science | technology | engineering | mathematics | STEM | education | CDIO
Source: International Association of Journals and Conferences (IAJC) and International Journal of Modern Engineering (IJME) Joint International Conference on Engineering and Technology, 2008, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
UNT College of Engineering
UNT Scholarly Works
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc115194
Resource Type: Paper
Format: Text
Access: Public