Enhancement of chemical engineering introductory curriculum through service learning implementation Conference Paper uri icon


  • As a part of a departmental curriculum reform project supported by the National Science Foundation, service-learning has been implemented in the first ChE sophomore-level course by a collaborative student and faculty effort to achieve the following: 1. Increase retention through student engagement with interesting and insightful projects that apply engineering principles to actual problems. 2. Engage students in social responsibility through real life projects and applications that in turn directly benefit the community and its members. 3. Build working relationships not only through student team work, but also through industrial and non-profit networking. 4. Create excitement for engineering through the promotion of sustainable technologies, project management, hands on experience, open-ended problems and project based learning. To achieve these goals the first service-learning project has been given to the introductory level material and energy balances class for the fall of 2006. The general process for the project is as follows: 1. Formulation of project: Initial contact was made with many community based services and non-profit organizations, asking for service-learning opportunities. Proposals were discussed and selected according to pre-established project specification criteria. 2. Project promotion: Student teams assigned project with general outline and guidelines. Project requires planning, attention to detail, extra research for understanding of sustainable technologies for a creative solution, and transfer of learned concepts. 3. Designing and Project Completion: Field experts, professors and upperclassman mentors are available for guidance, support and collaborative learning. 4. Project Reflection: Written reports and oral presentations graded by professors and community representatives based on a rubric, including creativity, presentation, detail and application of engineering. Suggestions and constructive criticism given. Reflection on collective learning. Service-learning benefits both the students participating and the community. Servicelearning projects help students to establish connections between the concepts learned and the real life; promote team work; teach professional ethics and social responsibility; and provide opportunities for professional communication. In addition, basic economics will also be learned, as the students must take into account viable engineering and differentiate between consumer wants and needs. The community benefits through the students' work on real life problems and situations, which ultimately make a difference in peoples' lives. In the fall of 2006, the class has been presented with a project agreed upon through collaboration with the department and Habitat for Humanity. The project is to design a "green" home, focusing on conservation aspects such as energy, water and waste. Habitat for Humanity construction advisors, professors and upperclassmen mentors will be there to advise and learn with the students throughout the project. Upon completion of the project, a paper and oral presentation will be graded by a rubric focusing on creativity, detail, implementation of curriculum and teamwork. This presentation will focus on the implementation of service-learning in the classroom, student performance on the project, and lessons learned for the next iteration. American Society for Engineering Education, 2007.

published proceedings

  • ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Yurttas, L., Christensen, J., Haney, J. S., El-Halwagi, M., Froyd, J., & Glover, C.

complete list of authors

  • Yurttas, L||Christensen, J||Haney, JS||El-Halwagi, M||Froyd, J||Glover, C

publication date

  • January 2007