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Journal Papers

The following is a list of all publications generated by the Foundation Coalition, listed by author. These documents require the use of the Adobe Acrobat software in order to view their contents.

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  • Nikles, D., Cordes, D., Hopenwasser, A., Izatt, J.R., Laurie, C., Parker, J.K., 1995, “A General Chemistry Course Sequence for an Integrated Freshman Year Engineering Curriculum,” Gordon Research Conference, Ventura, California, January 8-13, 1995.
  • Izatt, J.R., Cordes, D., Hopenwasser, A., Laurie, C., Parker, J.K., 1995, “An Integrated Freshman Year Engineering Course,” American Association of Physics Teachers Meeting, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, August 7-12, 1995.
  • Parker, J.K., Cordes, D., Hopenwasser, A., Izatt, J.R., Laurie, C., Nikles, D., 1995, “Curriculum Integration in the Freshman Year at the University of Alabama - Foundation Coalition Program,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The University of Alabama presented its first set of freshman year courses as part of the NSF sponsored Foundation Coalition during the 1994-1995 academic year. The three major thrust areas of this coalition are: (1) curriculum integration, (2) technology-enabled education, and (3) human interface issues (learning styles, active and cooperative learning). The focus of this paper is on the integration aspects of the freshman year engineering, mathematics, and sciences curriculum.

    Most freshman level mathematics, chemistry, and physics courses are taught in isolation from each other. Students respond by "compartmentalizing" their technical knowledge without awareness of the connections between subjects. The traditional "cafeteria" style process for selection of courses further componds the problem. Most engineering programs view the "output" of the freshman math and science courses as the "input" into their courses. Consequently, there is relatively little interaction on the education level between engineering professors and their colleagues in the math and science departments.

    As a result, most engineering programs lose many students during the freshman year. Our solution to this problem is an integrated set of courses for all engineering majors in chemistry (CH 131/132), engineering (GES 131/132), mathematics (MA 131/132), and physics (PH 131/132), which must be taken together. The authors of this paper were the instructors for the initial offering of the courses mentioned above. The paper will focus on several specific examples of curriculum integration that have been attempted, along with observations about the success of the program.

    The Foundation Coalition consists of the following: Arizona State University, Maricopa Community College District, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, Texas Women's University, The University of Alabama.

  • Cordes, D., Parker, J.K., Hopenwasser, A., Laurie, C., Izatt, J.R., Nikles, D., 1995, “Teaming in Technical Courses,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The University of Alabama is one of seven school participating in the Foundation Coalition, a partnership looking at curriculum integration, human-interface issues (active and cooperative learning), and technology-enabled education within the undergraduate engineering curriculum. As a result, the 1994-1995 academic year saw a completely new curriculum being prototyped for a class of 36 volunteer students within the College.

    The curriculum in question provides an integrated 13-hour sequence of Calculus, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering Design for the students. One of the central themes to this sequence is the concept of teams and teaming. Students work in teams of four students throughout this course sequence. These teams operate as a unit for all classes, mathematics recitations, physics and chemistry laboratories, and all engineering design projects.

    As this is the first significant, large-scale, curriculum-wide implementation of teaming within the College, a number of strategies for how to proceed were identified (and attempted). Concern was placed on ensuring that students gain both the ability to function effectively within a team environment and also demonstrate their own individual ability to perform the task in question.

    This paper examines the processes by which teaming is performed within the integrated freshman year of the Foundation Coalition. It looks at successes that have been realized, and also point out techniques that should not be repeated. The authors summarize their opinions about the strengths (and weaknesses) of the process, as well as identifying the principal ``lessons learned'' for both future semesters of this curriculum and other individuals interested in incorporating teaming into their own courses. In addition, the authors comment on the similarities (and differences) between freshmen students and upper-level engineering students with respect to teams and teaming.


  • McInerny, S., Stern, H.P., Haskew, T.A., 1996, “A Multidisciplinary Junior Level Course in Dynamic Data Acquisition,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: This paper describes a Junior-level multidisciplinary laboratory course concerning industrial applications of dynamic data acquisition and analysis. The course, developed as part of the NSF Foundation Coalition and initially targeted for electrical, mechanical, and industrial engineers, consists of four weeks of introductory material followed by four modules, each concerning a specific application of signal acquisition and analysis. The modules emphasize qualitative understanding of concepts and are designed to illustrate the principles involved in data acquisition and analysis, to demonstrate industrial applications of engineering concepts, to exploit the varied experiences of the individuals within the multidisciplinary student teams, and to introduce students to the equipment and processes necessary to take meaningful measurements and interpret their significance. Each application-specific module is designed to be independent, and the modules may be taken in any order. By employing a modular structure, the class can be easily modified in the future to accommodate additional disciplines, such as aerospace engineering.

  • Anderson, C., Bryan, K., Froyd, J.E., Hatten, D., Kiaer, L., Moore, N., Mueller, M., Mottel, E., Wagner, J., 1996, “Competency Matrix Assessment in an Integrated, First-Year Curriculum in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The Integrated, First-Year Curriculum in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (IFYCSEM) at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology integrates topics in calculus, mechanics, statics, electricity and magnetism, computer science, general chemistry, engineering design, and engineering graphics into a three course, twelve-credit-per-quarter sequence. In 1995-96, faculty teaching IFYCSEM unanimously agreed to move toward a competency matrix assessment approach advocated by Lynn Bellamy at Arizona State University. Using a competency matrix, faculty establish a two-dimensional grid. Along the vertical dimension of the grid, faculty list the topics and techniques with which they believe students should become facile. Along the horizontal dimension are the levels of learning according to Bloom's taxonomy: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation. For each topic in the vertical dimension faculty establish the desired level of learning associated with a grade: A, B, or C. For each quarter in 1995-96, the resulting matrix contained about 500-600 elements or blocks. When a student has demonstrated a level of learning for a particular topic, the student marks the block as earned and enters in the competency matrix a reference to his/her portfolio showing where the supporting document may be found. Students maintain their own portfolios and competency matrices and at the end of each quarter students submit their competency matrix along with a portfolio as documentation. Faculty assign a grade based on the competency matrix.

    We present detailed descriptions of the rationale and process. Next, we discuss advantages and disadvantages, including feedback from both faculty and students. Finally, we discuss possible improvements for future implementation.

  • Heenan, W., MacLauchlan, R.A., 1996, “Development of an Integrated Sophomore Year Curriculum,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The Foundation Coalition at Texas A&M University- Kingsville formed a second year team to develop an integrated engineering sophomore year curriculum. The team consisted of ten faculty members from all the engineering disciplines plus physics and mathematics. Six of the faculty were senior faculty. The team operated using weekly (1-2 hour) workshop sessions. The principles of teaming were applied and the team followed a code of cooperation. This paper discusses the results from the teaming effort and the curriculum that evolved..

  • Izatt, J.R., Harrell, J.W., Nikles, D., 1996, “Experiments with the Integration of Physics and Chemistry in the Freshman Engineering Curriculum,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: For the past three years as a member of the NSF Foundation Coalition the University of Alabama has been developing an integrated freshman engineering curriculum. We describe here our experiments with integrating topics in physics and chemistry. Examples include error analysis and statistics, molecular collisions and the gas laws, wave interference and the analysis of crystal structure, and the Bohr model and the periodic table. The curriculum makes extensive use of computer tools such as Maple, Excel, and Interactive Physics, and teaming techniques are employed. We assess the merits and limitations of these attempts at integration.

  • Harrell, J.W., Izatt, J.R., 1996, “Freshman Engineering Physics in the Foundation Coalition at the University of Alabama,” Proceedings of the International Conference on Undergraduate Physics Education.


  • Hariri, H., 1997, “A Case Study in Stoichiometry Course Using Excel and PowerPoint Presentation,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.

    Abstract: Production of syngas from coal was considered as a case study project for the stoichiometry course. In this case study we showed the students how to divide a complex process such as above to smaller single units as the first step. The flowsheets of each single unit was drawn on a slide using Microsoft Power Point. Then we showed how to produce spreadsheets for the single units in an Excel workbook and link the spreadsheets together. With Power Point Presentation we could present the flowsheet of a single unit and switch to the corresponding Excel sheet for the calculations in a Windows 95 environment. The linkage of the spreadsheets are useful for parametric studies on the overall process.

  • Heenan, W., MacLauchlan, R.A., 1997, “Development and Implementation of an Integrated Engineering Curriculum for the Sophomore Year,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: In 1995-96 the Foundation Coalition at Texas A&M University - Kingsville (TAMUK) formed a second year team to develop and implement an integrated engineering curriculum for the sophomore year. The team has consisted of ten faculty members from all the engineering disciplines (CE, CHE, EE, IE, ME, and NGE) plus physics and mathematics. Six of the faculty are senior faculty. The team has operated on weekly (1- 2 hour) workshop style sessions for both the planning and the implementation phases of this work. The team has followed a code of cooperation and continues to practice the principles of teaming.

    The team used the Affinity Process to group sophomore topics and the Modified Nominal Group Technique to prioritize the topics in an effort to develop a curriculum. The resulting sophomore curriculum consisted of four courses (13 semester hrs) in the first semester and three courses (9 semester hrs) in the second semester. It builds upon the integrated engineering curriculum which has been developed for the freshman year by the Foundation Coalition at TAMUK.

    First offered in the fall of 1996, the courses for the first semester sophomore year were: Integrated Engineering Systems I (3 hrs + 1 hr design lab), Integrated Mechanics I (3 hrs), Integrated Physics II, (4 hrs), and Integrated Mathematics III, (3 hrs). The second semester courses were : Integrated Engineering Systems II, (3 hrs + 1 hr design lab), Integrated Mechanics II, (3 hrs), and Integrated Mathematics IV, (3 hrs). Results of the 1996-97 implementation of the courses are described, as well as the design and use of a specialized modern technology enabled classroom for cooperative/active learning.

  • Harrell, J.W., Izatt, J.R., 1997, “Freshman Physics in the NSF Foundation Coalition,” Newsletter of the Forum on Physics Education of the American Physical Society, Spring 1997.
  • Haskew, T.A., Stern, H.P., McInerny, S., 1997, “Industrial Applications of Dynamic Data Acquisition - First Semester Experiences in a Multidisciplinary Laboratory Course,” Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Education.

    Abstract: A junior-level multidisciplinary laboratory course centered around industrial applications of dynamic data acquisition and analysis is described. The course was developed with funding from an NSF Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement (ILI) grant and is offered as a NSF Foundation Coalition (FC) course. It is also open to traditional engineering students. In the course, teams of four (maximum) students are drawn from more than one discipline and with complementary interests and skills. It is intended that the associations developed within and amongst the teams will enable cooperative, multidisciplinary design projects in the senior year.

    The course consists of four weeks of introductory material followed by four laboratory modules, each concerning a specific application of signal acquisition and analysis. Currently, these modules include speech encoding and enhancement, machinery sound power measurement, machine condition monitoring, and motor condition monitoring. Each module is designed to be independent and the modules may be presented in any order. The course concludes with a culminating design project. Three instructors are involved in teaching the course, one from Mechanical Engineering and two from Electrical Engineering.

    In this paper, information on the course structure, content, hardware and software is provided. Problems encountered in the first semester are recounted and adjustments to the course structure are suggested to address these problems.

    Some of the problems are common to any new laboratory course. Other difficulties are unique to the structure of this FC course, including those associated with multi-disciplinary team teaching, and technology enabled education. Methods of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of instruction are proposed. Despite start up difficulties, the Fall 1996 student reviews were highly enthusiastic. There has students demand for the course to offered again in the Fall 1997 semester.


  • Cordes, D., Parrish, A., Dixon, B., Borie, R., Jackson, J., Hale, D., Hale, J., Sharpe, S., 1998, “An Inter-Disciplinary Software Engineering Track Emphasizing Component Engineering,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: This paper describes the establishment of an integrated track in software engineering for three distinct academic disciplines at the University of Alabama: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Management Information Systems. This integrated track focuses on component engineering, and is being developed by a team of faculty from all three programs.

  • Haag, S.G., Reed-Rhoads, T., 1998, “Assessing the Effectiveness of Integrated Freshmen Curricula in Engineering,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: Reform across subject areas through curricular integration has an overarching goal of achieving high academic success for all students. A number of schools in the country associated with the National Science Foundation Engineering Education Coalition program have incorporated reform across subject areas as one of their objectives. In an attempt to reform engineering education at Arizona State University, the Foundation Coalition (FC) program offered an integrated freshman program and embedded four core reform competencies in its strategic plan and across all subject areas. The core competencies are emphasized not only for high academic success but for student retention and professionalism. The four competencies include: 1) Utilization of technology-enabled education, 2) Improvement of human interactions that affect the educational environment, 3) Integration of subject matter within the curriculum, and 4) Promotion of life long learning.

    This report contains outcomes from a comprehensive evaluation of the FC program. The evaluation included assessment of FC students and a non- FC comparison group of students.

    To gain a broad perspective of the program a multi method research approach was used. The FC program was examined to capture: immediate effects, short-terms effects, and longer effects. This was the 5th of a 10 year plan to observe the quality of the program. Methods included: survey research, document review, and collection and analysis of data on ASU engineering students.

    Students were asked to fill out surveys periodically during the year to elicit their perceptions about the program. In addition, student academic performance was collected. The Force Concept Inventory (FCI) and the Mechanics Baseline Test (MBT) were also given in the FC freshmen class by the Physics professor. Both tests were multiple choice and were scored on a percent correct basis. Furthermore, the FC and non-FC course GPAs were compared over time to examine student differences and gains.

    Current assessment of the program has shown that the FC is continuing to meet its strategic objectives. According to exiting freshman engineering students, the program was more effective in the utilization of technology in education, curricular integration, and the promotion of life long learning than the comparison group and the differences were statistically significant. Additionally, the FC has proven to be successful in the retention of students in the field of engineering. Another strength of the FC program was faculty responsiveness.

    However, there were no statistical differences between the Coalition and the comparison groups for teaming. One explanation is that the non-FC comparison program also uses teaming in one of their courses which may have affected this outcome. Based upon this preliminary feedback, FC faculty will improve the team training, monitoring, and assessment this year. Additionally, a special “team time” was added to the schedule to help improve team dynamics.

    Additional information has shed light upon specific student differences. For example, females responded differently than the males on all survey questions pertaining to teaming, technology, integration, and life long learning. Additionally, FCI and MBT scores revealed gender and special interest group differences. Although all groups exhibited similar gains, the males always outscored all other groups of interest. The gender differences in every test administration, both FCI and MBT significantly favored the males This formative evaluation feedback has provided impetus for program modification. Faculty and staff are examining differences and determining strategic curricular and non-curricular actions to correct learning and attitudinal discrepancies.

  • Al-Holou, N., Bilgutay, N.M., Corleto, C.R., Demel, J.T., Felder, R., Frair, K., Froyd, J.E., Hoit, M., Morgan, J.R., Wells, D.L., 1998, “First-Year Integrated Curricula Across Engineering Education Coalitions,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The National Science Foundation has supported creation of eight engineering education coalitions: Ecsel, Synthesis, Gateway, SUCCEED, Foundation, Greenfield, Academy, and Scceme. One common area of work among these coalitions has been restructuring first-year engineering curricula. Within some of the Coalitions, schools have designed and implemented integrated first-year curricula. The purpose of this paper is to survey the different pilots that have been developed, abstract some design alternatives which can be explored by schools interested in developing an integrated first-year curriculum, indicated some logistical challenges, and present brief descriptions of various curricula along with highlights of the assessment results which have been obtained.


  • McInerny, S., Stern, H.P., Haskew, T.A., 1999, “Applications of Dynamic Data Analysis,” IEEE Transactions on Education, 42:4, 276-280.

    Abstract: This paper describes a junior-level multidisciplinary laboratory course centered around industrial applications of dynamic data acquisition and analysis. The course was developed with funding from an NSF Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement (ILI) grant and is offered as a NSF Foundation Coalition (FC) course. It is also open to traditional aerospace, electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering students. In the course, teams of four (maximum) students with complementary interests and skills are drawn from more than one discipline. It is intended that the associations developed within and among the teams will enable cooperative multidisciplinary design projects in the senior year. The course consists of four weeks of introductory material followed by four laboratory modules, each concerning a specific application of signal acquisition and analysis. Currently, these modules include speech encoding and enhancement, machinary sound power measurement, machine condition monitoring, and motor condition monitoring. Each module is independent, so the modules may be presented in any order. The course concludes with a small design project. Three instructors have been involved in teaching the course, one from mechnical and two from electrical engineering.


  • Duerden, S., Garland, J., Helfers, C., Roedel, R.J., 2001, “Integration of first year English and Introduction to Engineering Design: A Path to Explore the Literacy and Culture of Engineering,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: One of the goals of the Foundation Coalition’s Freshman Integrated Program for Engineers (FIPE) at Arizona State University is to help students attain a critical awareness of the culture in which they live and work. Therefore, through sustained and ongoing dialogue with the engineering professor, the English teachers in the FIPE program have designed a curriculum that asks students to engage with other perspectives, both cultural and historical, about issues relevant to them as future engineers. As Samuel Florman explains, “[w]ithout imagination, heightened awareness, moral sense, and some reference to the general culture, the engineering experience becomes less meaningful, less fulfilling than it should be. In this first of two semesters, the engineering students explore the rhetorics, literacy, and culture of engineering in the university and in the professional workplace. They are exposed to the historical and cultural background of issues related to engineering, they explore rhetorics of inquiry to discover ways of knowing and thinking in engineering, which leads them to more informed arguments, decisions, and use of language. Through a freshman English class that has been carefully integrated with the engineering curriculum, we are able to help students contextualize, explore, question, and apply concepts learned in engineering to their writing in English.

  • Garland, J., Duerden, S., Helfers, C., Rodriguez, A.A., 2001, “Integration of First-year English with Introduction to Engineering Design with an Emphasis on Questions of Ethics,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: Fundamental to engineering education, and mandated by ABET is that students engage with questions of ethics. Too often, however, this does not occur until late in the student’s career. In the Foundation Coalition Freshman Integrated Program in Engineering at Arizona State University, we believe that concern for ethics must be integrated vertically into the curriculum beginning in the first year of the student’s career. This can be successfully achieved if freshman English and engineering design are integrated, as we have been able to do. We introduce our students in their first semester to the ancient rhetors’ concept of values and use that to explore specific engineering codes of ethics and decision-making tools employed in engineering. This foundation then allows students to critically analyze case histories and discover for themselves that ethical considerations are and must be part of the decision-making processes they employ, even when the tools they use cut out such considerations. This foundation allows us to then explore ethical considerations vertically throughout their careers as engineering students. Therefore, we urge educators to consider the possibility of developing integrated courses that allow students to connect the intellectual rhetorics of inquiry developed in freshman English classes with their engineering classes so that students can truly appreciate and comprehend the importance of ethics in their future professional lives.

  • Evans, D.L., Hestenes, D., 2001, “The Concept of the Concept Inventory Assessment Instrument,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The well-known Force Concept Inventory (FCI) instrument has been in use over the last 15 years and is now credited with stimulating reform of physics education. An instructor can give the FCI as both a pre-test and as a posttest to produce data that can be used in a continuous improvement manner to evaluate the effectiveness of various instructional strategies. This presentation will review the development and history of the FCI from the standpoint of what makes it so effective for this use. This presentation will be a lead-in to presentations at this conference of four new Concept Inventories, two in thermodynamics (one for a first year course and one for a second year course), one in signals and processing, and one in strength of materials. Other Concept Inventories are known to exist or are being created (e.g., wave phenomenon for electrical engineers and energy principles in physics).


  • Powers, T.A., Sims-Knight, J.E., Topciu, R.A., Haden, S.C., 2002, “Assessing Team Functionality in Engineering Education,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.

    Abstract: The present study used a series of team process checks modeled on those developed at Arizona State University to assess team functioning. Team members completed these forms individually and then collectively the members assessed the team as a whole. These process checks were compared to faculty ratings of the teams. The students’ individual knowledge about teaming skills was also assessed and the relationship of these various measures to performance was examined. Two distinct dimensions of team functioning appear to be measured by the team process check: agency and affiliation. The process checks were positively correlated with faculty ratings, and the agency dimension of the scale predicted team project scores in one of the classes evaluated but not in the other two.

  • Sims-Knight, J.E., Upchurch, R.L., Powers, T.A., Haden, S.C., Topciu, R.A., 2002, “Teams in Software Engineering Education,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The ability to work as an effective member of a development team is a primary goal of engineering education and one of the ABET student learning outcomes. As such, teaming has received increased attention in both the classroom and the literature over the past several years. Instructors of software engineering courses typically organize students into teams but expect, erroneously, that students learn the skills they need and learn to avoid dysfunctional patterns simply by working in teams. This paper describes the development of tools that can incorporate an assessment-based continuous improvement process on team skills into engineering classes. The primary focus in on the development of (1) a self-report assessment tool that would provide pointers toward improvement and (2) a test of students' knowledge of best teaming practices. The paper also describes a first pass at embedding these assessment tools into a continuous improvement process.


  • Haag, S.G., Caso, R., Fowler, E., Pimmel, R.L., Morley, P., 2003, “A Systematic Web and Literature Search for Instructional and Assessment Materials Addressing EC 2000 Program Outcomes,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The engineering accrediting body (ABET) has identified the skills and competencies in which engineering students are expected to be prepared by their engineering programs (EC2000, Criterion 3, a-k). These competencies include several often characterized as "soft," open-ended, or nontraditional (i.e., communication, teaming, awareness of global and social impact, etc.), which engineering faculty often profess feeling ill prepared to teach, and less prepared to assess, as classroom or programmatic outcomes. Typically, the traditional sources of engineering assessment tools and models (i.e., test suggestions from engineering texts and examination problems borrowed and adapted from other faculty members) are poor in resources addressing the "soft" ABET competencies. For these reasons a group of engineering educators and assessment and evaluation professionals from four NSF Engineering Foundation Coalition partner universities, undertook comprehensive, systematic Web and print literature searches and a survey of firsthand information about instructional and assessment materials being used to address the ABET a-k competencies. This paper confines itself to describing the methodology used and the results obtained in the systematic Web and literature searches. The paper discusses (1) the extent to which relevant instructional and assessment materials, for each particular ABET a-k category, were found to be publicly accessible online and in libraries; (2) the systematically cumulated impressions of investigators about the utility of the available materials; (3) the extent to which a-k instructional or assessment materials could be readily extrapolated from articles and presentation papers addressing ABET assessment; (4) the work undertaken to develop a Web-searchable database of categorized and annotated references to refer engineering educators to appropriate and available materials; and (5) the efforts to select, systematize and implement uniform methods for searching, documenting, classifying and compiling search information.

  • Haglund, D.K.., Kushner, J., Martin, J.K.., 2003, “Developing a Philosophy of Practice: A New Approach to Curricular Evolution in Engineering Education at the University of Wisconsin Madison,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.

    Abstract: In sharp contrast to previous prescriptive curricula specified by ABET, the ABET EC2000 is remarkably flexible in allowing engineering departments to determine the content of their curriculum and the methods used to teach those courses. The change to ABET EC 2000 should provide opportunity for departments to produce improved and responsive curricula for their students. By setting goals and measuring outcomes, ABET EC2000 is a framework for assisting departments to engage in a process of continuous review of their curriculum. This flexibility extends also to a distinct lack of structure for the method a department should use in their process of continuous review.

    This paper addresses the concerns of how to help a department move from where it is to where it can engage in regular and continuous curricular review. Models of curricular and organizational change suggest that practical realities must be considered for real change to be embedded. We describe a four-step process involving feedback that may be useful. And finally, we describe examples of implementation that details what we have done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and what we have learned from the experience.


  • Haag, S.G., 2004, “Best Assessment Practice for Engineering Outreach Programs,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.

    Abstract: Nationwide, universities have perceived this problem in the underrepresentation of women and minorities in technical majors. Thus, many colleges have created K-12 and university outreach programs targeting these populations for recruitment and retention. However, comprehensive assessment indicating outreach program efficacy is minimal. This study examines university populations who have participated in outreach programs using a plan developed and implemented through Arizona State University's Fulton College of Engineering Assessment and Evaluation Office. This research and assessment plan incorporates a multimethod approach that looks at students and identifies indicators that impact program, college, and university outcomes or industry expectations, including (1) retention rates, (2) academic performance in relevant courses (e.g., math and physics), and (3) student satisfaction with engineering as a major. ASU has employed a (3-year) longitudinal study to identify the factors related to student and program success. Such assessment should raise the engineering standard by identifying best practices and by highlighting opportunities for change. This study outlines feasible and relatively economical means by which industry and other funding agencies can maximize their contributions to such programs.

  • Simoni, M.F.., Herniter, M.E.., Ferguson, B.A.., 2004, “Concepts to Questions: Creating an Electronics Concept Inventory Exam,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference, 1793.

    Abstract: Concept inventory exams are standardized tests that have been carefully designed to point out the common misconceptions that students have in a specific body of knowledge. We are currently developing an electronics concept inventory (ECI) exam for basic electronic circuits. In this paper, we present an example that is particular to the ECI to illustrate the general process that was used to select the core concepts and then create and revise questions. In addition, we address the current and future state of the ECI and invite open discussion to improve the content of the ECI.

  • Triplett, C., Haag, S.G., 2004, “Freshman Engineering Retention,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference, 1793.

    Abstract: Prior local assessment of students entering high school bridge programs shows that, although students may feel prepared to take math and science courses, they but may not possess the skills necessary to succeed and persist in engineering. Preliminary findings show that programs should not be limited to attracting individuals into engineering majors but also correctly assess the ability of these students and provide necessary interventions. Conducting assessment has the potential to identify areas for program refinement and highlights specific areas for follow up and improvement. The goal of this study is to create an overall assessment process to evaluate the retention and success of freshman engineering students and to provide data results and critical indicators to the key stakeholders in order to drive change.

    In this study, retention rates of first-time, full-time freshman engineering students were examined over a three-year period. This data analysis includes examining the following: (a) retention patterns, (b) for gender and minority status, and (c) migration to different engineering majors. Initial data reveal that female students were retained at a higher overall percentage rate than males for three years, a noteworthy finding. Additionally, most students who left engineering were leaving the university entirely, rather than switching majors. Thus, further research is warranted to examine how to serve all at-risk students and to create appropriate intervention and resource strategies.


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