Engineers are problem solversWhether it's cell phones, digital cameras, DVD's or facial recognition devices that can pick out a terrorist in a crowded football stadium, engineers are behind almost all of today's exciting technology. Engineers are problem solvers who search for quicker, better, and less expensive ways to use the forces and materials of nature to meet today's challenges.If you have an innate curiosity about how things work, like to solve problems, enjoy working in a team and want to create things that will change the way people live, you should consider a career as an engineer.Why take engineering?Because...>> Engineering is Academic Glue - It binds complex math and science concepts to real-world experiences and leads to learning that sticks with students>> Engineering is Creativity - the need for problem-solving and innovation brings out the best ideas from every student>> Engineering is Group Work - students learn to communicate and work together while they learn math and science by applying engineering principles.>> Engineering is Everywhere - students learn that engineers have designed, created, or modified nearly everything they touch, wear, eat, see, and hear in their daily lives.>> Engineering is FUN!What are the benefits from taking engineering?>> Project-based learning has been shown to enhance student understanding of math and science concepts by making them relevant and more enjoyable.>> Concrete and applicable engineering concepts connect what is learned in school with what goes on in the outside world.We have a lot of options for students. You don't have to be planning on going into engineering, or even know what engineering is. We have classes that for all students and want to help you get into the right class. Your experience with the School of Engineering should be enjoyable and we want to help it be so.
Course Outcome Statements
Principles of Applied Engineering - Learn the concepts necessary in order to develop skills into solutions that improve lives.
Principles of Technology - Develop reasonably accurate predictions of engineering project outcomes based on application of math and science principles.
Engineering Design & Problem Solving - Successfully complete two Instructor led full engineering design team projects, utilizing a variety of techniques, tools, and disciplines
Practicum in STEM I - With support, work on a team to successfully complete & deliver an accepted design solution for client that utilizes a variety of techniques, tools, and disciplines
Practicum in STEM II [Capstone] - Independently work on a team to successfully complete & deliver an accepted design solution for client that utilizes a variety of techniques, tools, and disciplines
Program Educational Objectives (PEO):
PEO1: competently apply engineering methods to solve professional problems associated with the design, manufacture, and maintenance of systems and understand the social, ethical, and environmental context of their work.
PEO2: communicate clearly, collaborate competently in teams, and assume leadership roles.
PEO3: Lead multi-disciplinary teams to success by managing team dynamics.
PEO4: Continuously balance simultaneous demands of today’s working environment through multi-tasking capabilities of planning, organizing, managing and controlling resources.
PEO5: Combine engineering and business core knowledge to apply quantitative and qualitative methods to process analysis in business systems.
PEO6: Make timely, ethical, and useful decisions in response to organizational challenges.
PEO7: Recognize the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
Student Outcomes (SOs):
In order to prepare our graduates to attain these objectives, we have adopted the following student outcomes that we expect our graduates to achieve:
SO1: An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
SO2: An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
SO3: An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
SO4: An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
SO5: An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
SO6: An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
SO7: An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.
SO8: An ability to apply learning strategies and modern engineering tools, to identify, formulate and design solutions for complex engineering problems.
SO9: Balance academic disciplines in science, engineering, business, and humanities to prepare for the changing workplace.
SO10: Learn both quantitative and qualitative analysis methods.OSHA Certification:All students in the School of Engineering will complete their OSHA 10-Hour General Industry certification. This certification is administered by Career Safe (www.careersafeonline.com). The course is entirely online. The certification is good for life, and students only need to take the course once for the engineering program. Students can, if they wish, complete the course before the start of school. The cost of the course is $25. Freshmen in the Concepts of Engineering course will pay for the course in their class and have their progress monitored by the instructors. 10th-12th grade students will pay Career Safe directly.
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What we believe
Several years ago, I was sitting with a group of our learner leaders and we we discussing the things that make our program special. It was more than the curriculum. It was more than the labs. There were things about how we worked that made this all special. Over the course of a couple of weeks, we came up with this list. Behind each one is a story that goes deeper. These are not just static statements, but living guidelines. I have seen how they influence the whole program’s direction and success. When we stray from them, we have found ourselves lost and wandering. What this represents is the culture of our School of Engineering. That name itself is intentional. This is more than a collection of classes. When we are at our best, we are a Small Learning Community that truly believes and lives it. I wrote a post about building culture, you are encouraged to read it in the following link.
Design Begins With Empathy
“When you design for the ‘average’, you design for no one.” In his book, “The End of Average”, Todd Rose showed how there has been definitive research to show that there is no “average” person. We are all unique. We all have things we excel at and we all have limitations. Ignoring that fact helps no one. If we don’t truly understand our users and audiences, then we do them a great disservice. On top of that, by designing for an “average”, we eliminate so many potential users and beneficiaries. Just by simply using a font that is compatible with screen reading software, a manual or book or app is not opened up to people with vision and/or reading issues. It also opens up the possibility for translation. Automatic door openers make buildings accessible to people with mobility issues. At the same time, it creates so many more opportunities. Delivery personnel use them all the time. So do people with babies and small children. Small features can have huge impacts. Therefore, in our program, we go with the philosophy of “Designing for the margins”. When we design for the margins, we include everyone. In fact, we include people we never considered and may never even be aware of. This type of design philosophy does not come easy. It requires research, interviews, discussions, and a lot of hard work. It’s not easy or quick, but it is worthwhile. This design philosophy creates community and brings people together.
You Must Find a Way to Admire and Respect Every Member of the Team
This is a statement I heard from Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon. In his story, he recounted the difficulties they were having in preparing for the Apollo 12 mission. Every attempt they made and every adjustment they tried made no difference in the end. The scenario ended in failure which could easily lead to the deaths of the astronauts. In a moment of despair after another failed session, Alan Bean angrily criticized a particular engineer and suggested replacing him because this person’s ideas were not in line with his own. Pete Conrad, the mission Commander chastised Bean pointing out that their own ideas weren’t any good either. It would most likely be a seemingly crazy idea from someone else that would lead to the success of the mission and safe journey of the astronauts. Conrad concluded by pointing out the first rule of being a good teammate, “You must find a way to admire and respect every member of the team.” Ultimately, it was an idea that took a giant leap of faith for the mission to be successful and ushered in new advances for NASA.
In our own work in the classroom, we must find a way to admire and respect everyone. We all have something to contribute. The word, “must” in the statement is not by accident. Treating each other this way is not important, or suggested. It is imperative and required. We don’t have to be best friends with everyone on the team. We will have our differences. By finding something to admire and respect helps us all work together. The more viewpoints we bring in, the better the designs, the better the process, and the stronger the community.
In God We Trust, All Others Must Bring Data
Just because it’s printed (or on the internet) doesn’t make it true. And just because you designed it doesn’t mean it will work. As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” Run tests, retest it, and then run more tests. The more times you test and practice, the better it will be.
Create Success, Don’t Wish For It
I had a poster up that said, “If you don’t fail at least 90% of the time, you aren’t trying hard enough.” These small failures are just a part of the iterative process as we make things better. In fact, the most rewarding things in life are those that require a tremendous amount of effort and determination. Unfortunately, this concept is hard for our learners, and their supporters, to handle sometimes. In the end though, the grit and resilience that is built is priceless.
To support our learners, we have a philosophy of celebrating risk. When Pixar was just starting, Steve Jobs met with the team and offered to fund them with the provision that they must produce a full-length feature film within 10 years. This was an impossible ask. It had never been done and the technology didn’t exist. The technology needed was actually several breakthroughs away. But, they forged ahead. Randy Nelson, one of the leads, used to be a circus performer and actor. He brought over the concept of celebrating risk. Circus performers, routinely mess up and miss their mark. I’ve watched trapeze artists miss many times. When they fall, they land in the net, roll off and take a bow. It’s called the “Failure Bow.” Then they climb back up and go at it again. This worked its way into the culture at Pixar. When someone would make a mistake trying something new, they would throw up their hands and shout out and “whoop”. Everyone would gather around to see what they were working on and what happened. Everyone learned from it. It was an opportunity for the whole organization to grow. As a result, Pixar achieved one technological break-through after another and in less than 10 years released “Toy Story”.
We cannot be afraid to take risks. This is how we grow and how we solve problems. We have the same philosophy in our class. We don’t punish people for taking risks that don’t work. We celebrate it and learn from it. The key is for everyone to learn and grow. Together, we grow stronger.
Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
Issac Newton is credited with saying, “If I have seen further than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” We embrace this in the program. We have to. No one knows everything. An no student comes in knowing everything they need to learn for the year on the first day. Unfortunately, it seems that everyone thinks they need to already know it. They think that if they don’t know something, then there is a problem or they are stupid. This is not the case. We embrace and celebrate those that build on others.
If You Want to Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want to Go Far, Go Together
We’ve all had the moment where we wanted to just take control and do it “because I’ll just get it done faster.” That’s true. Take the Olympics for instance. Usain Bolt can currently sprint faster than anyone in 100 meters. On the other hand, when they move the Olympic flame from the previous location to the new one, they can’t do it with one person. Usain would be able to go really fast for a short while, but would soon tire out and have to stop. Instead, they use a relay of hundreds or thousands of people. Each of the people is way slower than Usain, but when one tires, they hand it off to the next. In the end, they are able to cover an incredible distance.
In our program, we have many small, short things that individuals do quickly and we have other projects that are huge and require a team. Without a team, the project would never get done completely, well, and on time.