AIChE Journal Highlight: Keeping Chemical Engineering Education Relevant | AIChE

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AIChE Journal Highlight: Keeping Chemical Engineering Education Relevant

Journal Highlight

Although chemical engineering enrollments have more than doubled over the past decade, the situation was very different in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The large decline in enrollment during that time period raised significant concerns about the long-term health of the profession. This decline motivated different initiatives to completely re-envision the undergraduate curriculum in chemical engineering.

One major effort in the early 2000s was the Frontiers in Chemical Engineering Education project, which was “a discipline-wide initiative to advance the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum.” This initiative was chaired by Robert Armstrong of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Ronald Rousseau of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and supported by both the Council for Chemical Research and the National Science Foundation (NSF) (1). The project specifically noted that: “The broad applicability of chemical engineering fundamentals has become a defining feature of the discipline, and we are challenged to convey this breadth to our students. Hence a major driver for curriculum advancement is the need to connect students to [broad applications].”

Despite these efforts, the overall structure of the chemical engineering curriculum, the listing of core courses, and the specific...

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