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A Unified Framework for Engineering
Science: Principles and Sample Curricula
Don Richards, Louis Everett, Phillip
Cornwell, Jeff Froyd, Walt Haisler, Dimitris Lagoudas,
Engineering sciences were first formalized in the Grinter Report
[1,2] and have been a foundation
of engineering education for the past fifty years. Traditionally,
engineering sciences have been taught in separate courses with each
course focused on one of the engineering sciences: statics, dynamics,
circuits, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. A different approach,
teaching the engineering sciences within a unified framework, was
pioneered at Texas A&M University and has since been adopted
not only there, but also at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
The unified framework provides a common framework for understanding
basic physical laws, e.g., conservation of mass, momentum, energy,
and charge, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and applying these
laws to development of mathematical models of engineering systems.
The framework is built upon four concepts: 1) system, boundary and
surroundings, 2) property, 3) conserved property, and 4) accounting
for the exchange of properties across the boundary of a system.
After presenting the concepts for the framework, the paper explores
three different curricula that have been developed in which students
study engineering science using the framework. Assessment results
are presented for two of the three sample curricula.
II. Conservation and Accounting Framework
III. Curriculum Structure: Texas A&M Four-Course Structure
IV. Curriculum Structure: Texas A&M Five-Course Structure
V. Curriculum Structure: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Sophomore Engineering
VI. Example Problems
VII. Student Performance/Faculty Reactions