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Engineering Change: New Issue Brief Highlights Innovative Approaches to Engineering Program Design

Baltimore, MD -- ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology has released a new issue brief that explores innovations in the design and delivery of engineering programs that better equip graduates for success in a rapidly evolving global economy.

“Engineering Change: Lessons from Leaders on Modernizing Higher Education Engineering Curriculum” offers case studies from six undergraduate engineering programs that are blurring the lines between class and career, and increasing access to dynamic, hands-on learning opportunities and projects for students.

“The delivery of STEM curriculum in the age-old tradition of higher education is no longer effective for the business needs of today and tomorrow,” says ABET Executive Director and CEO Michael Milligan. “If we will meet the current and future demands for dynamic engineering talent, colleges and universities must rethink the role of engineers in our society and offer curriculum that prepares them to meet and overcome the challenges confronting the world today and tomorrow.”

The issue brief elevates best practices for developing effective and flexible engineering programs that cultivate skilled, confident and career-ready graduates based on insights from Olin College, Capitol Technology University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Rice University. Included among the shared best practices are the ability to:

  1. Blur disciplinary borders: Higher education is no longer a straight line within any given program area. Rather, the most compelling programs are those that blend diverse program areas.

  2. Approach problem solving holistically: By deeply engaging real world practice into the classroom, students learn beyond theory in a way that can make them better problem solvers for life.

  3. Informed by business: From cross-sector learning to corporate pipeline programs embedded inside the classroom, innovation in education is increasingly important in building tangible success for graduates and the universities in which those students thrive.

  4. Customizable Curriculum: Flexing with the needs of the business community has become critical for universities to show value to students and corporate partners, as is the process for allowing students an opportunity to chart their own course, with flexibility in choosing program elements.

  5. Dynamic Hands-on Learning: Exposing students earlier to real-world challenges is increasingly important, as society confronts the demanding population and infrastructure challenges of the next several decades.

  6. Effective Assessment: Through regular and effective assessment, universities have the tools and resources needed to be the best they can be for their students, donors and corporate partners.

For more information and to download “Engineering Change,” visit

About ABET

ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). We accredit college and university programs in the disciplines of applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology at the associate, bachelor, and master degree levels. With ABET accreditation, students, employers, and the society we serve can be confident that a program meets the quality standards that produce graduates prepared to enter a global workforce.

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