In December of 2005, James Madison University set out on a mission to develop a new kind of engineering degree program. A task force of faculty from the College of Integrated Science and Technology, the College of Science and Mathematics, and the College of Business envisioned a new degree program that combined the best elements from a strong Liberal Arts education with a strong science, technology, engineering, math, and business curriculum.
Recommendations from the National Academy of Engineering and ideas from faculty, industry representatives, and the popular literature were combined with ABET accreditation standards and requirements from the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination to develop a different kind of engineering curriculum which will, in turn, produce a different kind of engineering graduate. The task force developed a list of desired learning objectives and educational outcomes for the new degree program. Using the ABET accreditation criteria and the FE licensure exam as guidelines, more than 200 detailed learning objectives were developed and mapped to the individual courses in the new curriculum.
The result of this work is a new Department of Engineering at James Madison University. The inaugural freshman class was accepted in August 2008. The new school offers a single, interdisciplinary engineering bachelor’s degree that is designed to meet ABET accreditation standards and prepare graduates for the FE examination. The 4-year, 129-credit curriculum focuses on sustainability, engineering design, and integrated systems analysis.