Transformational Paradigm for Engineering and Engineering Technology Education Page: 1
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Paper #023, Session ENG 107
Transformational Paradigm for Engineering
and Engineering Technology Education
Enrique Barbieri William Fitzgibbon
Professor & Chair Professor & Dean
Department of Engineering Technology College of Technology
University of Houston University of Houston
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, experiential 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. We
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 we propose is based upon the thinking behind the Conceive,
Design, Implement, Operate (CDIOTM http://www.cdio.org/) initiative.
Proceedings of The 2008 IAJC-NAIT-IJME International Conference
ISBN 978-1-60643-3 79-9
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Barbieri, Enrique & Fitzgibbon, William. Transformational Paradigm for Engineering and Engineering Technology Education, paper, November 2008; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115194/m1/1/: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Engineering.