(478h) An Integrated Approach to Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Curriculum Reform
AIChE Annual Meeting
Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 5:21pm to 5:39pm
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), three chemical engineering departments within the Texas A&M University System have made significant progress in their efforts to renew their curricula to address pressures of multi-disciplinary technological developments and the growing breadth of abilities and knowledge areas expected for competitive chemical engineering graduates. Three broad strategies to accomplish project goals have been implemented: (1) curriculum content reform and development; (2) student assessment activities, and (3) faculty development initiatives.
The three strategies are being implemented through six key mechanisms:
(i) Identifying and organizing curriculum development activities around four course strings to improve integration of learning outcomes and activities.
(ii) Developing interlinked curriculum components to organize and reinforce core ideas in chemical engineering curricula.
(iii) Using service learning in required chemical engineering courses.
(iv) Integrating comprehensive assessment plans and processes throughout the chemical engineering curriculum and using the data to make and evaluate changes.
(v) Offering faculty development activities to offer knowledge and development opportunities for chemical engineering faculty members.
(vi) Sharing our experiences with audiences beyond the Texas A&M University System.
In the course of the project, faculty incorporated innovative pedagogies, such as teams, cooperative learning, and project based learning. Faculty in a community-centered effort have developed outcomes and expectations for incoming students in the courses that comprise the four course strings. Web-based modules that span courses and application areas have been developed and are being integrated into core courses. Consistent conversations about continuous improvement and assessment plan engaged faculty in a collective effort for sustained change. This paper will discuss the outcomes and experiences of the three-year, NSF-sponsored project to reform chemical engineering undergraduate curricula.