How we teach: Chemical engineering in the first year

Laura P. Ford, Janie Brennan, Jennifer Cole, Kevin D. Dahm, Marnie V. Jamieson, Lucas James Landherr, David L. Silverstein, Bruce K. Vaughen, Margot A. Vigeant, Stephen Ward Thiel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In Fall 2019, the AIChE Education Division Curriculum Survey Committee surveyed chemical engineering programs across the United States and Canada about chemical engineering in the first year. Eighty-two responses were received. At most of our schools, students consider themselves chemical engineering majors from the first semester, but usually they are not formally chemical engineering majors until the start of the third semester. At about half of those schools, they must simply be in good standing to become a chemical engineering major, but at about half of the schools, they must pass certain courses and meet a cutoff GPA. Sixty percent of departments do not require that the students own computers, but more than half of them do anyway. We have found that a majority of schools require an introduction to engineering course and that many have a required introduction to discipline course. The introduction to engineering course usually does not have chemical engineering content. The introduction to engineering and introduction to discipline courses cover similar topics: introduction to discipline courses cover more safety, and introduction to engineering covers more engineering design. Both types of courses use similar assessments and software, with engineering courses using MATLAB more. Introduction to engineering courses and sections are larger than introduction to discipline courses. A wide variety of classroom activities are used in both types of introduction courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number781
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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