(610b) Statistical Analysis of Undergraduate ChE Curricula of U.S. Universities
Chemical Engineering (ChE) is a historically relevant degree that is constantly evolving in order to accommodate the emerging research and industrial trends (e.g., biology, nanotechnology, energy). However, adding new courses to the curriculum without removing older ones presents a challenge because it is already overloaded. The problem is further exacerbated by the need to justify any curricular changes to ABET reviewers and various university committees. It is believed that a thorough statistical analysis of the current state of U.S. curricula could eventually be used to guide or justify curricular changes. Therefore, this talk will present results of our recent comprehensive study that is intended to become such a tool. Publically-available undergraduate degree sheets were aggregated from every accredited ChE department in the US. A comprehensive analysis was performed, and subject-specific descriptive statistics were reported for core ChE courses. In addition to the core courses, biology-related data were also accumulated into the analysis, due to the growing popularity of the subject. Besides exposing various trends and commonalities in ChE curricula, this presentation will focus on two different approaches to teaching Transport Phenomena, the significant presence of Bio-related courses, and the apparent scarcity of traditional Statics/Dynamics and Process Safety courses. Ultimately, the identification of commonalities between what departments are teaching is intended to be used as a first step toward making any changes; while a host of other factors, such as regional considerations and student feedback, should be included in the final decision. To close, an example of the use of this tool is provided in the form of a case-study of refining the NJIT curriculum.