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Are departments obsolete? [education]

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2 Author(s)
Olds, B.M. ; Colorado Sch. of Mines, Golden, CO, USA ; Miller, Ronald L.

The authors note that so much of the work they are presently engaged in at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) is interdisciplinary that they are asking themselves whether the `major' as it has evolved over the past few decades is really the best way to package undergraduate engineering education. Based on recent experiences, they have begun to conclude that specialization may be better pursued at the graduate rather than the undergraduate level and that undergraduate engineering students may do just as well, if not better, with a broad-based general degree than with a specialized one. If this is true, the typical engineering departmental structure may be obsolete. It is pointed out that a number of institutions, engineering schools, and individual departments are already recognizing the kinds of problems with which the authors are concerned and are developing innovative solutions. The authors discuss various models at the institutional, departmental, and programmatic levels which support their contention that the existing departmental structure is obsolete

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1991. Twenty-First Annual Conference. 'Engineering Education in a New World Order.' Proceedings.

Date of Conference:

21-24 Sep 1991