Individual Submission Summary

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Integrating Engineering Education with the Liberal Arts

Fri, August 31, 11:00am to 12:30pm, ICC, E3.5


We have been exploring opportunities to establish an undergraduate, pre-professional, bachelor of arts degree program - Liberal Studies in Engineering - meant to attract students undecided about choice of a major but who have sufficient interest to enroll in a program that keeps open the possibility that they might pursue a career in engineering. For these individuals, the program will offer a smoother pathway into the profession. For others, it will serve as a new liberal arts program centered on STEM. It would take exemplary, substantive content of the “traditional” undergraduate engineering program and infuse this content into courses in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

A workshop,focused on this proposal, funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, and hosted by the National Academy of Engineering, was held in Washington D.C. in January, 2015. This led to a special, double issue of the journal Engineering Studies, about the proposal.

A second NSF award is funding a feasibility study meant to gain a better understanding of constraints and opportunities for establishing a program at a variety of institutions. We are visiting universities that have taken some steps to integrate engineering education with the arts and humanities as well as those that are planning to do so. In addition, we will be interviewing both potential corporate employers of the graduates and graduate school admissions professionals. Finally, to explain what we mean by infusing engineering content into courses in the liberal arts, we are developing illustrative “modules” and making them freely available online.