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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.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



  • 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.
  • Barrow, D., Bassichis, W., DeBlassie, D., Everett, L.J., Imbrie, P.K., Whiteacre, M.M., 1995, “An Integrated Freshman Engineering Curriculum, Why You Need It and How To Design It,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The Foundation Coalition (FC) is a seven school coalition working to define the undergraduate engineering curriculum for the next century. One goal of the project is to produce a technology rich, active learning environment for undergraduate engineers. There are three facets to the FC curriculum development philosophy at A&M:

    1) Curriculum Integration,

    2) Technology Utilization,

    3) Active/Cooperative Learning and Teaming.

    This paper discusses these facets and highlights the Texas A&MFreshman Curriculum Integration Team's (TAFCIT) achievements over the last year.

    Curriculum integration means typical first year courses (Engineering Problem Solving, Calculus, Graphics, Physics and English) are tightly coordinated to form a mutually supportive environment. Although students receive individual credit in each course, the courses are truly co-requisite. Each course strives to bring relevance to the others, often presenting different aspects of a common problem. Material presentation timing provides students with a ``need to know before knowledge'' sequence. Information and skills introduced in one course are promptly and regularly espoused in at least one other.

    This paper will discuss the philosophy and motivation behind an integrated curriculum and the process used in its development. The paper will continue with a discussion on classroom implementation including how to develop lesson plans, schedule classes, gather and use student feedback. Although the first year is not yet complete, we will give some preliminary results, and discuss our plans and concerns.

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Imbrie, P.K., Malave, C.O., Watson, K.L., 1997, “From Pedagogy to Reality: The Experience of Texas A&M University with the Foundation Coalition Curricula,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
  • Imbrie, P.K., Malave, C.O., Watson, K.L., 1997, “Pedagogy versus Reality: How Past Experiences Can Be an Effective Modeling Tool to Successfully Deploy Curricula Changes,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: The National Science Foundation has sponsored a number of Engineering Education Coalitions to help develop innovative and progressive methods for delivering the undergraduate engineering curricula of the 21st century. However, if past performance is any indication of future success, adoption of this common courseware by noncoalition institutions will be met with limited success primarily because implementation issues are not thoughtfully considered. This paper details the various "stages" that most, if not all, academic institutions that wish to implement large-scale changes in their current curricula must successfully navigate. The implementation stages to be presented include: 1) historical innovation review; 2) course development and deployment in pilot form; 3) obtaining faculty buy-in; 4) considering the administrative details; and 5) managing the transition. The experiences and processes developed herein are based upon work that has been done at Texas A&M University which is a large public “top tier” research institution and a member of the “Foundation Coalition.” The paper also describes how Quality Functional Deployment methods can be used to identify and circumvent potential problem areas in the institutionalization process.


  • Richardson, J., Corleto, C.R., Froyd, J.E., Imbrie, P.K., Parker, J.K., Roedel, R.J., 1998, “Freshman Design Projects in the Foundation Coalition,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: Many talented engineering students abandon engineering before taking a single engineering course. Herded into large sections of “pre-engineering” mathematics, chemistry and physics courses, many students prove themselves academically but walk away from engineering, disillusioned. Numerous schools have instituted freshmen engineering courses to retain some of these capable but disinterested students in the engineering program. Freshman engineering courses spark students’ interest by showing students that engineers communicate, lead, and create as well as analyze. One of the most successful ways of showing first-year students the diversity of skills needed to practice engineering is through freshman design projects.

    The authors have each selected three of their favorite freshman design projects (a total of fifteen projects) and posted detailed descriptions on the web ( For those interested in learning a little background about the freshman programs in which these projects were used, please read on. This paper provides: a brief description of the freshman programs at each school (the schools are participants in the NSF-sponsored Foundation Coalition), short summaries of each project, and answers to frequently asked questions about freshman design projects.


  • Everett, L.J., Imbrie, P.K., Morgan, J.R., 2000, “Integrated Curricula: Purpose and Design,” Journal of Engineering Education, 89:2, 167-175.

    Abstract: This paper has two objectives: 1) to define, describe, and discuss integrated programs and their advantages with regard to student and faculty outcomes, as well as student retention; and 2) to describe a design process used to successfully develop and deploy an integrated first year curriculum. This paper details the results of the design process and the content of the first year integrated program implemented by the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. The curriculum integrates the first year components of calculus, chemistry, engineering graphics, English, physics, and problem solving.


  • Caso, R., Clark, M.C., Froyd, J.E., Inam, A., Kenimer, A.L., Morgan, J.R., Rinehart, J., 2002, “A Systemic Change Model in Engineering Education and Its Relevance for Women,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.

    Abstract: The paper will present the experience at Texas A&M University (A&M) in institutionalizing its first-year and sophomore curricula using learning communities (LC) as the underlying concept. In 1998-99 academic year, A&M completed the transition from pilot curricula to new first and second year engineering curricula for every student. As the foundation for new curricula, A&M developed LCs. At A&M, a LC is a group of students, faculty and industry that have common interests and work as partners to improve the engineering educational experience. LCs value diversity, are accessible to all interested individuals, and bring real world situations into the engineering classroom. The key components of A&M engineering LCs at are: (1) clustering of students in common courses; (2) teaming; (3) active/cooperative learning; (4) industry involvement; (5) technology-enhanced classrooms; (6) peer teachers; (7) curriculum integration; (8) faculty team teaching; and (9) assessment and evaluation. This presentation will use both quantitative and qualitative assessment methods to try and understand how LCs have affected student retention, performance, and learning experience.


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