Work in progress - A first-year Introduction-to-Engineering course on Society's Engineering Grand Challenges

Samira Azarin, Nicola Ferrier, Stephen M. Kennedy, Daniel Klingenberg, Kristyn Masters, Katherine D. McMahon, Jeffrey Russell, Susan C. Hagness

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A new cross-disciplinary first-year course, "Introduction to Society's Engineering Grand Challenges," has been developed as part of a collegewide initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to transform undergraduate engineering education for 2010 and beyond. The inspiration for developing this new course was the National Academy of Engineering's "Engineering Grand Challenges" project. By emphasizing humanitarian applications in an introductory engineering course, we expect to not only inspire future generations of engineers and show students how the skills they will be learning can have a positive impact on quality of life, but also encourage more women to pursue engineering degrees. The course consists of an introductory module followed by two theme-based modules of the student's choosing, selected from the following themes: "Engineering challenges that impact our lives on a personal scale," "Engineering for the developing world," "Engineering the megacity," "Global engineering challenges," and "Engineering beyond Planet Earth." The team-taught course is being offered for the first time in the spring of 2008. This paper presents an overview of the course, the expected outcomes, and the preliminary results from a surveybased assessment tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4720379
Pages (from-to)F1D1-F1D3
JournalProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
StatePublished - 2008
Event38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2008 - Saratoga Springs, NY, United States
Duration: Oct 22 2008Oct 25 2008


  • First-year courses
  • Gender issues and diversity
  • Student retention


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