The College of Engineering has created a new course, ENGIN 1022 Survey of Engineering.
This class is offered to all students who would like to explore majors within the
College of Engineering. Furthermore, this class may become a requirement for all entering
freshman students. The course was designed to introduce students to each of the majors
by highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of engineering. The instructor talks
about engineering and how problems in industry and academia are approached from different
vantage points. The course is taught each week by a different professor or industry
professional, which focuses on career opportunities available in each specific discipline.
This class was piloted during fall semester of 2011, and the structure is evolving
to meet the needs of entering students, who may have chosen a major or who may be
exploring their options. A survey was distributed to students in the class to help
determine the format that would best help them choose an engineering major. This class
will be redesigned based on the results of the survey to better meet the objectives
of the course.
Many entering freshman students have not made a definite decision about their major
as soon as they come to the University of Utah, and need to explore different options.
If students wish to study engineering, they will find that they are behind in their
studies if they take time to explore. There are eight majors in engineering, each
with a structured series of courses required during specific semesters of a student's
undergraduate education. Lateral movement among engineering majors is not easy because
of the timeline of the coursework. Many times, students who chose engineering and
get frustrated end up leaving engineering altogether because their major was not what
they had hoped it would be. Often these students realize that they were in the wrong
engineering major, but because the coursework is so specific, and they have spent
so much time, money and effort, they choose something that will allow them to graduate
faster or they choose not to continue with their education. Aside from this group,
some students know that they would like to study engineering, but are not sure which
type of engineering offers the career they are hoping to attain. The College of Engineering
has created a course that allows students to explore majors within engineering, and
will help students create more realistic expectations about the coursework and future
This class will either help students choose a major, or help validate their decision.
In addition, the course could serve as a model for other exploratory and introductory
courses at the University of Utah. Other colleges and departments could implement
a similar version of the class that will allow students to explore other majors that
may be interdisciplinary or that fall within the same college or department. This
class will increase retention because students will have exposure to engineering early
on and they will be better informed about their major. Furthermore, if students choose
to move to another major in engineering, they will be able to make the decision earlier.
Finally, when students begin taking classes within their major, they will have a better
understanding of the end result of their education.