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D 10895-10907



DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DEGREE PROGRAM IN THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING SECTION in the Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2016

 

Interim Dean Sharon Wood in the School of Engineering has filed with the secretary of the Faculty Council the following changes to the School of Engineering section in the Undergraduate Catalog, 2014-2016. The faculty of the college and the dean approved the changes on April 1 and April 8, 2013, respectively. The secretary has classified this proposal as legislation of general interest to more than one college or school.

The Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review recommended approval of the change on November 13, 2013, and forwarded the proposed changes to the Office of the General Faculty. The Faculty Council has the authority to approve this legislation on behalf of the General Faculty. The authority to grant final approval on this legislation resides with UT System with notification to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

If no objection is filed with the Office of the General Faculty by the date specified below, the legislation will be held to have been approved by the Faculty Council. If an objection is filed within the prescribed period, the legislation will be presented to the Faculty Council at its next meeting. The objection, with reasons, must be signed by a member of the Faculty Council.

To be counted, a protest must be received in the Office of the General Faculty by December 6, 2013.

Dean P. Neikirk

Dean P. Neikirk, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council


Posted on the Faculty Council website on November 20, 2013.



PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DEGREE PROGRAM IN THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING SECTION in the Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2016

NAME OF CHANGE:
  Academic Change

IF THE ANSWER TO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IS YES, THE COLLEGE MUST CONSULT NEAL ARMSTRONG WHO WILL DETERMINE WHETHER SACS-COC APPROVAL IS NEEDED.:

• Is this a new degree program? No
• Does the program offer courses that will be taught off campus? No
• Will courses in this program be delivered electronically? No

EXPLAIN CHANGE TO DEGREE PROGRAM:
Move ME 333T, Engineering Communication, from sixth to fourth semester and make 333T co-requisite with ME 130L, Experimental Fluid Mechanics.

Rationale:

  • Allows lab report writing to be taught more effectively and emphasizes the importance of communication skills in engineering. Students can be taught with real data how to communicate engineering results to both other engineers as well as to a non-technical audience.
  • Resources to teach engineering communication created for the first ME lab course (130L) will be available to other lab courses taught later in the curriculum.
  • Creates a “spiral” approach to communication assignments and instruction in which later courses purposefully build on what was learned in earlier courses.  We can also create some uniformity in assignments, rubrics, and standards of evaluation in our laboratory courses.
Move ME 335, Engineering Statistics, and ME 353, Engineering Finance, from major sequence to supporting courses (without changing pre-requisites).

Rationale

  • Input from faculty who teach these classes and students suggest that this would facilitate advancement in the curriculum.
Move EM 306, Statics, to semester AFTER PHY 303K, Engineering Physics I

Rationale

  • Student feedback that this would assist in class performances, particularly in EM 306.
  • Consistent with the sequence taken at many of our peer institutions.
Merge ME 205, Computers and Programming, and ME 218, Engineering Computational Methods, into a new course (ME 318M, Intro to Comp & Engineering Comp Methods) and refocus content to Matlab rather than a mixture of Matlab and C/C++. A new upper-division elective course will be offered that focuses exclusively on C/C++.

Rationale

  • ME 205 is currently a self-paced course taken in the first year.
  • Combining ME 205 and ME 218 courses removes the current 2-3 semester gap between these courses where knowledge is often forgotten.
  • Focusing on Matlab will allow deeper understanding/greater comfort with the de facto standard ME programming environment.
  • Utilizing Matlab in several classes (potential courses that could incorporate Matlab include Dynamics, Fluid Mechanics, and others) creates more comfort with using computational tools.
  • Offering an undergraduate upper-division elective focused completely C/C++ will allow students who are interested in this programing environment to develop more depth than they can achieve in the current two-credit hour survey course.
  • The combined ME 318M course will result in the reduction in the graduation requirements in ME of one credit hour compared to the currentfour credit hours, two course sequence.
Move ME 336, Materials Processing, ME 136L, Materials Processing Lab, and ME 343, Thermal Fluids Systems from required to elective courses. This may require shuffling of some course material to other existing core courses. Impact on credit hours is discussed below and in item 6.

Rationale

  • Similar courses are typically offered as electives at our peer institutions.
  • Reducing the number of required courses will allow more Career Gateway Electives, without increasing the number of courses required to graduate.
Increase the number of Career Gateway Electives (CGEs) required from the current two (6 credit hours) to four courses (12 credit hours). In addition, increase the flexibility in which courses satisfy the CGE requirement. Student feedback has indicated that more flexibility in the curriculum to explore topics of interest to them would be highly desirable. Currently, only Mechanical Engineering courses satisfy the CGE requirement, although other engineering courses are sometime approved as an exception. We are proposing to allow the following courses to count:
    • any upper-division class in Engineering
    • any upper-division class in Natural Science
    • any upper-division class in Architecture
    • any upper-division class in Business or Economics
    • any upper-division class in another college or department that is flagged
      (see http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/core/flags)

Combined with the changes listed in item 5, these changes will reduce the number of credit hours required to graduate by one. We will simultaneously institute new procedures for advising students that will include examples of possible career paths and CGEs that would be useful for those thrusts and required direct, one-on-one advising with faculty CGE advisors.

Rationale

  • Student feedback has indicated that more flexibility in the curriculum to explore topics of interest to them would be highly desirable.
  • Increasing the flexibility in which courses satisfy CGEs is recognition that many of our students do not pursue careers in the traditional areas of mechanical engineering. Additional flexibility will allow our students to prepare for these careers.
 
 

SCOPE OF THE PROPOSED CHANGE(S):

Does this proposal impact other colleges/schools? If yes, then how?
  Yes
If yes, impacted schools must be contacted and their response(s) included:
 

Item #6 may lead to ME students taking more upper-division courses outside of mechanical engineering. Given the number of ME students and the large number of upper-division courses that are available on campus that satisfy the CGE courses, there should be a negligible impact on any specific undergraduate program. We propose to monitor this situation to confirm that this is the case.


Will students in other degree programs be impacted (are the proposed changes to courses commonly taken by students in other colleges)?

  No
If yes, explain:
  N/A

Will students from your college take courses in other colleges?
  Yes
If yes, explain:
 

But given the number of ME students and the large number of upper-division courses that are available on campus that satisfy the CGE courses, there should be a negligible impact on any specific undergraduate program. We propose to monitor this situation to confirm that this is the case.


Does this proposal involve changes to the core curriculum or other basic education requirements (42-hour core, signature courses, flags)?
  No
If yes, explain:
  N/A

Will this proposal change the number of required hours for degree completion?
  Yes
If yes, explain:
 

The total of number of credit hours required will decrease from 127 to 125. In addition, the number of classes required to graduate will decrease from 48 to 46. Benchmarking against a group of public and private schools peers suggests the average number of courses to graduate is about 42. Decreasing the number of courses will put us closer to our peers and allow students to complete our curriculum. The proposed curriculum is fully ABET compliant.


COLLEGE/SCHOOL APPROVAL PROCESS:

Department:
Yes
Date: November 12, 2012
College:
Yes
Date: April 1, 2013
Dean:
Yes
Date: April 8, 2013

To view the edited version of the catalog changes click the PDF link at the beginning of this document.