Responsiveness of engineering curricula to cultural and societal changes

John Mativo, Nadia Kellam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Throughout history there has been a call for change in engineering education. Since the early 20th century, there has been a national concern for the state of engineering education as can be seen by reports by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, National Science Board, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council1. Much of the focus of these reports has been on graduate outcomes, with less focus on the attributes of the student entering engineering school. Previous research suggests that today's incoming students have a different set of abilities when they arrive at the university than those from previous generations. For example, they do not have experience working on lawn mowers and cars, but do have experiences playing advanced computer games. These different experiences result in different competencies. This change in student's competencies across generations led the authors to investigate the following research question: How responsive has the engineering curriculum and accreditation requirements been to cultural and societal changes? Authors investigate the conditions of three time periods namely: 1800's to pre-world war II (apprentice, vocational focused), World War II to 2000 (engineering Sciences focused), and 2000 to present (outcome focused). The guiding questions that helped answer the main research question are the following: • What experiences did a typical student have prior to entering an engineering program in each time period? • What were the accreditation requirements during each of the time periods? • What was a typical curriculum within each of the time periods? Findings from this effort will provide recommendations to improve engineering curricula based on the experience and skills of the incoming student population and to eventually provide accreditation recommendations based on the findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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