Process Safety in the Classroom: The Current State of Chemical Engineering Programs at US Universities

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    March 31, 2014
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
  • PDHs:

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Process safety is a critical component of preparing chemical engineers for their future careers. In 2011, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) officially recognized the role of process safety in chemical engineering education when it updated the requirements for Chemical, Biochemical, Biomolecular, and similarly named Engineering Programs. The change added a clause, indicating that the curriculum of said programs should not only include the engineering application of chemistry, physics, and/or biology to the design, analysis and control of processes, but also the hazards associated with those processes. Departments immediately began developing curriculum changes to meet the new requirement which would go into effect during the 2012-2013 accreditation evaluations. Departments have since begun to evaluate their curriculum and determine how best to meet the new requirement, which went into effect during the 2012-2013 accreditation evaluations.

Herein, we present findings related to the major milestones and challenges associated with updating the chemical engineering curriculum to include process safety components. First, a thorough survey of publically available information regarding curriculum requirements, course syllabi, and program developments at US universities will be discussed. Next, insights from evaluating the challenges associated with adding new content to an already overloaded curriculum will be discussed. Lastly, recommendations for continued improvement in safety education provided to both undergraduate and graduate students will be presented.

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