A Critical Look at Mechanical Engineering Curriculum: Assessing the Need.
journal contributionposted on 09.07.2021, 21:17 by Yeow Siow, Jamison Szwalek, Jonathan Komperda, Houshang Darabi, Farzad Mashayek
Since the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act in 1862, the U.S. higher education system has been serving the industrial world, and engineering study is the epitome of this ideal: Serve those who will practice it in the immediate future. The mechanical engineering curricula have long been evolving to meet the demand of the changing economy, and it may soon be due for a major update. This paper aims to present an initial effort to explore the need for a systematic redesign, or reform, of the mechanical engineering curriculum at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where curricular changes during the past five decades have been largely isolated, incremental and piecemeal. This paper documents the method in, and results from, an evidence-based study of external data, from which a list of key skills future graduates should acquire is generated. The outcome of this study will inform and guide the next phase of the work, which examines the state of the current curriculum, teaching, and assessment within the department, as well as a comparison of curricula among peer and aspirational institutions.