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The Decline of Design Across the Curriculum

[+] Author Affiliations
Jeffrey R. Mountain

University of Texas - Tyler, Tyler, TX

Paper No. DETC2008-49806, pp. 453-456; 4 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5: 13th Design for Manufacturability and the Lifecycle Conference; 5th Symposium on International Design and Design Education; 10th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle and Tire Technologies
  • Brooklyn, New York, USA, August 3–6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4329-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3831-5
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Design across the curriculum has been a cornerstone of mechanical engineering education for well over a decade. The movement was an attempt to balance the tendency of most programs to over-emphasize engineering science. Over the course of that decade, many public universities have undergone a 7%–10% reduction in the number of credits required for graduation; usually in response to legislative pressure or competitive market conditions. In some instances, these reductions were not reflected in the general education content. Although the number of technical electives within the curriculum may have been reduced, seldom have they been completely omitted. Engineering science is considered the analytical foundation upon which new knowledge and engineering design are based. In addition, new frontiers in mechatronics, nanotechnology and alternative energy sources are becoming “must teach” subjects so that the discipline can evolve. The indication is that the “Design Across the Curriculum” concept either is, or will soon be in decline. This paper will present some historical perspective, a small sample of both common “solutions,” and a few unique approaches for maintaining design across the curriculum. The primary objective, however, is to initiate a dialog among engineering educators to begin to address the balance between engineering science and engineering design.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME
Topics: Design



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