Chemical Engineering Education ( Journal Site )

Material Information

Chemical Engineering Education
Alternate Title:
Abbreviated Title:
Chem. eng. educ.
Physical Description:
v. : ill. ; 22-28 cm.
American Society for Engineering Education -- Chemical Engineering Division
Chemical Engineering Division, American Society for Engineering Education
Place of Publication:
Storrs, Conn
Publication Date:
annual[ former 1960-1961]


Subjects / Keywords:
Chemical engineering -- Study and teaching -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
serial   ( sobekcm )
periodical   ( marcgt )


Chemical abstracts
Additional Physical Form:
Also issued online.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
1960-June 1964 ; v. 1, no. 1 (Oct. 1965)-
Numbering Peculiarities:
Publication suspended briefly: issue designated v. 1, no. 4 (June 1966) published Nov. 1967.
General Note:
Title from cover.
General Note:
Place of publication varies: Rochester, N.Y., 1965-1967; Gainesville, Fla., 1968-

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 01151209
lccn - 70013732
issn - 0009-2479
lcc - TP165 .C18
ddc - 660/.2/071
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Chemical Engineering Education
5200 NW 43rd St., Suite 102-239
Gainesville, FL 32606
PHONE: 352-682-2622

Tim Anderson

Phillip C. Wankat

Lynn Heasley

Daina Briedis, Michigan State

William J. Koros, Georgia Institute of Technology


C. Stewart Slater
Rowan University
Jennifer Sinclair Curtis
University of Florida
Tennessee Tech University
Lisa Bullard
North Carolina State
David DiBiasio
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Stephanie Farrell
Rowan University
Richard Felder
North Carolina State
Tamara Floyd-Smith
Tuskegee University
Jim Henry
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Jason Keith
Mississippi State University
Milo Koretsky
Oregon State University
Suzanne Kresta
University of Alberta
Marcel Liauw
Aachen Technical University
David Silverstein
University of Kentucky
Margot Vigeant
Bucknell University
Donald Visco
University of Akron

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

Chemical Engineering Education
Volume 46 Number 2 Spring 2012

66 Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin

73 Tips for Busy New Professors
Phil Wankat

80 Text Messaging As a Tool for Engaging ChE Students
S. Patrick Walton, Daina Briedis, Stephen D. Lindeman,
Amanda P. Malefyt, and Jon Sticklen

97 A Controlled Drug-Delivery Experiment Using Alginate Beads
Stephanie Farrell and Jennifer Vernengo


87 Just-in-Time vs. Just-in-Case
Rebecca Brent and Richard M. Felder

89 Career Coaching for Ph.D. Students
Joy L. Watson, Ed P. Gatzke, Jed S. Lyons

110 Experiential Learning and Global Perspective in an Engineering Core
Daniel J. Lacks, R. Mohan Sankaran, and Clever Ketlogetswe

118 Towards a Sustainable Approach to Nanotechnology by Integrating Life
Cycle Assessment into the Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum
Dmitry I. Kopelevich, Kirk J. Ziegler, Angela S. Lindner, and
Jean-Claude J. Bonzongo

129 An Approach to Help Departments Meet the New ABET Process Safety
Bruce K. Vaughen


135 PBL: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of authentic Problem-Based
Learning (aPBL)
Donald R. Woods

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING EDUCATION[ISSN 0009-2479 (print); ISSN 2165-6428 (online)] is published quarterly
by the Chemical Engineering Division, American Society for Engineering Education, and is edited at the University of
Florida. Correspondence regarding editorial matter, circulation, and changes of address should be sent to CEE, 5200 NW
43rd St., Suite 102-239, Gainesville, FL 32606. Copyright @ 2012 by the Chemical Engineering Division,American Society
for Engineering Education. The statements and opinions expressed in this periodical are those of the writers and not
necessarily those of the ChE Division, ASEE, which body assumes no responsibility for them. Defective copies replaced if
notified within 120 days of publication. Write for information on subscription costs andfor back copy costs and availability.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Chemical Engineering Education, 5200 NW 43rd St., Suite 102-239, Gainesville.
FL 32606. Periodicals Postage Paid at Gainesville, Florida, and additional post offices (USPS 101900).

= department

Chemical Engineering at...

The University of Wisconsin

Bryce Kichter, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Memorial Union Terrace, on the shores of Lake Mendota, is a popular spot for eating, relaxing, studying, and sailing.

Every schoolchild in Wisconsin learns that the state
motto is "Forward," the state animal is the Badger, the state
dance is the Polka, and the official state beverage is Milk.
As the only chemical engineering department in the state,
public or private, the Chemical and Biological Engineering
(CBE) Department at the University of Wisconsin (UW)
embraces all of these as part of our heritage and culture. The
department especially embraces the "Forward" motto in its
research and education efforts. We'll begin by highlighting
three research foci.

UW is home to the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Cen-
ter (GLBRC), one of three centers in the nation funded by
DOE to the tune of $125 million over five years. GLBRC is
a consortium of researchers from UW and Michigan State
University, working in collaboration with national labs and
industrial partners, to develop a suite of new technologies
to convert cellulosic plant biomass to energy sources. CBE
faculty involved with GLBRC include Jim Dumesic, Manos
Mavrikakis, Brian Pfleger, Jennie Reed, and Christos
Maravelias. Their work spans all length scales, from molecu-
lar engineering to systems and economic analysis.

Chemical Engineering Education

Jim Dumesic and his research group are pioneers in the con-
version of lignocellulosic biomass to fuel and chemical grade
compounds by means of heterogeneous catalysis. Jim uses his
expertise in microcalorimetric and spectroscopic techniques to
develop new catalytic processes for the conversion of biomass
feeds to valuable end products. Jim works closely with Manos
Mavrikakis, to tap his expertise in catalyst design from quantum
mechanical first principles. The main strategy is to first decon-
struct lignocellulose through controlled deoxygenation to obtain
platform molecules (5-6 carbons) and monofunctional species
that retain functionalities. These can then be reconstructed
through upgrading reactions, and tailored to specific new pur-
poses. Highlights from recent work include the production of
H, and alkanes through aqueous-phase reforming of sugars,
and conversion of sugars and sugar alcohols over a Pt-Re based
bimetallic catalyst to a mixture of mono-functional intermedi-
ate molecules, such as alcohols, ketones and carboxylic acids.
One of their most recently developed catalytic strategies is
for the production of jet fuels starting from biomass through
an integrated system for hydrogenation, decarboxylation, and
oligomerization reactions.
Where Jim and Manos use synthetic chemistry, Brian
Pfleger uses synthetic biology in the search for new biomass
conversion pathways. Synthetic biology is the design and
construction of new biological components and systems,
and the re-design of natural biological systems, for useful
purposes. Brian's research group is developing tools for
engineering biological systems in order to design biological
catalysts for producing high-value products from renewable
resources. Fossil fuels are the raw materials for an enormous
diversity of products such as plastics, solvents, and organic
building blocks. Conventionally, conversion from fossil fuel
to products is carried out through synthetic chemistry and
processes familiar to any chemical engineer. As fossil fuel
supplies decrease, Brian believes that it is time for synthetic
biology to step in, as an alternative approach for manufactur-
ing existing materials as well as a route to totally novel com-
pounds. Currently, his group is engineering microorganisms
to produce polymer precursors and diesel fuels.
Jennie Reed takes a systems biology approach, utilizing
both experimental and computational approaches to study
biological networks. Jennie and her team are building,
analyzing, and utilizing metabolic and regulatory models
of organisms involved in biofuels. These models are used
to evaluate the capabilities of different organisms from a
network-based perspective and to identify ways in which
genetic manipulations could enhance their productivity. She
also develops computational methods for designing strains or
cell lines with enhanced production yields of desired products.
These computational methods account for both metabolic and
regulatory effects occurring inside the cell, and can identify
metabolic or regulatory roadblocks that limit production in
developed strains.

To be economically viable, any biomass-to-fuels strategy
must be coupled to efficient conversion of biomass-derived
oxygenated compounds to high-value chemicals. Although
several pathways for these conversions are known, it is not
established which high-value chemicals should be produced
to make the overall process economically attractive, and how
chemical and biological approaches should be integrated.
Christos Maravelias and his research group have developed
a network design approach, where existing fossil-fuel-based
and emerging biomass-based technologies are considered.
They formulate optimization models to evaluate in a sys-
tematic manner a large number of alternatives, and thereby
address a series of challenging questions: Which chemicals
can be produced most efficiently from biomass? Which
emerging technologies could have the greatest impact? Can
biomass-based technologies be used today to replace fossil-
fuels technologies?
These combined efforts of several UW research groups,
along with their collaborators on campus and beyond, are sure
to move "Forward" the efforts to build a new biomass-based
chemical and fuels economy, while protecting and preserving
our natural resources.

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (WID) are two
unique entities, one private and the other public, housed
in one stunning 300,000-square-foot facility with a unique
design to facilitate collaborative research, education, and
public outreach. John Yin leads one of five thrusts, Systems
Biology, in the public part of WID. This group of researchers
is exploring how frontiers of experimental and computational
biology can advance and be enriched by evolutionary biology.
Every human being is an ecosystem, in continuous exposure to
a diversity of microbial cells and viruses present on our skin,
in our guts, and in our tissues. "No organism is an island,"
says John. "We have known for a long time how bacteria and
viruses can cause human disease, but the new data suggest
they also have important and intriguing roles in promoting
our health." John and his research team are developing new
approaches to understand how viruses grow, spread, and
evolve. If a virus particle is able to invade a living host cell, it
reprograms the cell to turn it into a virus factory. Upon release
by the cell, the progeny virus particles move by convection
and diffusion to other cells, where they initiate further infec-
tions. A quantitative understanding of the material and energy
flows of the infection process can highlight opportunities for
therapeutic intervention. But, because infections start with a
single viral particle, the biochemical reactions are "noisy" or
"stochastic." Jim Rawlings brings his expertise in stochastic
modeling into this effort to understand how viruses replicate,
survive, mutate, and flourish. The ultimate aim is to promote
human health through effective management of microbe-host

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

Beyond connecting scientists and engineers in the systems
biology thrust, WID is reaching further "Forward," connecting
science to the arts and humanities, connecting ways of know-
ing to ways of understanding, and reflecting on the meaning of
the new science on our humanity. Making connections from
science to art is a particular interest of John, an accomplished
cellist who studied at the Julliard School of Music and has
performed with several symphony orchestras. Old friends
of the department will be interested to know that our former
chair, Sangtae Kim, returned to Wisconsin following stints
in the pharmaceutical industry and government. Sang now
serves as Executive Director of the Morgridge Institute for
Research, the private half of WID.

Just renewed with $18 million over six years, the NSF-
supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
(MRSEC) involves more than 40 faculty and 50 graduate
students from disciplines ranging from chemical engineering
to biology to medicine. The primary mission of the center
is to understand and control the structure and dynamics of
interfaces in a wide range of materials. Originally directed
by Tom Kuech and now led by Juan de Pablo, MRSEC
benefits from the participation of CBE faculty including
Nick Abbott, Paul Nealey, Sean Palecek, Jim Dumesic, and
Dave Lynn. The investigators work at the crossroads of ad-
vanced inorganic materials, polymers, and biological systems,
connected by the common interest in heterogeneous interfacial
phenomena. While the center is continuously evolving, at the
current time MRSEC researchers are focused on three thrusts.
The first seeks to create new semiconductors and is explor-
ing new multi-element compounds through the manipulation
of strain, dimensions, and deformability. The second thrust
is organized around the study of molecular and electronic
dynamics where carbon-based compounds meet inorganic
compounds. "The work of our first two research groups will
find direct applications in new technology for high-speed elec-
tronics, sensors, and solar cells," says Juan. A third team will
build knowledge about coupling structural, mechanical, and
interfacial interactions in liquid crystalline materials through
an emphasis on defect manipulation, nucleation, mechanical
strain, and growth. Liquid crystals have the properties of both
conventional liquids and solid crystals, with many phases in
between. Through techniques such as confinement, nanoscale
patterning, and the addition of multifunctional polymers
that induce structural order in the liquid crystals, the group
will create new classes of materials that have applications in
separations technologies, drug delivery, nanoscale materials
processing, and biosensors.
Research at the NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and En-
gineering Center (NSEC) focuses on templated synthesis
and assembly at the atomic level. The center is directed by

Paul Nealey, and involves CBE faculty Juan de Pablo, Nick
Abbott, and Mike Graham, as well as researchers across
campus. NSEC researchers are directing the assembly of
materials into functional systems and architectures through
use of self-assembly, chemical patterning, and external fields.
Researchers are developing new materials and processes
for advanced lithography, in which self-assembled block
copolymers are directed to adopt morphologies that advance
the performance of nanomanufacturing processes. They are
synthesizing biologically inspired organic nanostructures in
which functional side chains display unique ordering, and
exploring non-equilibrium processes for manipulating as-
sembly of nanoscale objects.
Not content just to move nanoscience and technology "For-
ward," MRSEC and NSEC take seriously their responsibility
to communicate with the public. Innovative K-12 outreach
programs have led to the development of state-of-the-art les-
son plans, instructional videos, and kits that are used through-
out the world to educate the next generation of scientists and
engineers. Over the last few years, the centers have distributed
over 20,000 kits and reached 100,000 children!

The above gives just a taste of the larger multidisciplinary
projects at Wisconsin. There isn't room to describe all the
exciting research going on in the CBE labs: We'll just men-
tion (in alphabetical order): Dan Klingenberg's work on
electrorheological and magnetorheological fluids for automo-
bile parts like brakes, shock absorbers, and engine mounts,
Regina Murphy's studies on protein aggregation and its
relationship to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's,
Sean Palecek's design of strategies to control cellular signal-
ing pathways and regulate cell function in human pluripotent
stem cells, Jim Rawlings' efforts at improving the ability of
networked utilities to manage resources and demand using
model predictive control, Thatcher Root's initiatives in
developing new catalysts and processing strategies for envi-
ronmentally benign manufacturing, Eric Shusta's advances
in developing in vitro models of the blood-brain barrier and
innovative strategies for noninvasive brain drug delivery, and
Ross Swaney's work to develop field theories for macroscopic
modeling and robust computational methods.

Our undergraduate students survive one of the most grueling
and rigorous curricula around: 133 credits of math, chemis-
try, biology, physics, liberal arts, and engineering. Despite,
or maybe because of, the challenging curriculum, interest in
chemical engineering among entering freshpeople is very
high. At Wisconsin, students need to apply for admission into
a specific engineering department. Currently we are admitting
104 students each year. In order to accommodate the demand,
we offer core courses every semester, and have expanded and

Chemical Engineering Education

Faculty in Wisconsin's Chemical and Biological Engineering De
to right): John Yin, Regina Murphy, Juan de Pablo, Ross Swan
Christos Marevelias. Second and third row (left to right): Dave
Nealey, Jim Rawlings, Nick Abbott, Sean Palecek, Dan Klinger
retired), Jim Dumesic, Mike Graham, Thatcher Root, and Tom
faculty members, Brian Pfleger and Jennie I

upgraded laboratories. Of course, we are interested in not just
quantity of undergraduates but also quality of the undergraduate
experience, and have recently implemented many innovations,
with others in the works. Dan Klingenberg has collaborated
with faculty from other engineering departments to develop
and offer a "Grand Challenges" class to freshmen. This is one
of three introductory engineering classes that freslunen can
choose; students scrutinize the application of engineering solu-
tions to the "grand challenges" facing society in energy, health
care, environment, security, and quality of life. Plans are under
way to expand this very popular class to allow non-engineering
students to participate alongside engineers. Alternatively, fresh-
men can choose a design-based Introduction to Engineering,
where they work as teams on projects generated by Madison-
area clients. Several CBE faculty, notably Thatcher Root, have
participated in this fun, hands-on class.
Other curricular innovations take advantage of technology.
Regina Murphy has developed online animated and narrated
presentations, quizzes, and interactive modules to accompany
the introductory material and energy balance class. The online
materials allow students to learn and review basic concepts,
and free up classroom time for greater instructor-student in-
teraction, in-depth analysis of more challenging problems, and

team projects To better enhance
the computational skill, of our
students Jim Rai. llnes. Jennie
Reed, and Ross Sthane) hae de-
'eloped a Niatlab-based cure in
Process Modeling. us'ualI, taken
during the sophomore lear This
course er\I.e the dual purpose
of teaching students the use ot
modern computational tools for
modeling and data analysis, and of
apartment. First row (left introducing students to concepts in
ey, Manos Mavrikakis, process design, thermodynamics,
Lynn, Eric Shusta, Paul kinetics, and transport that they
berg, Charlie Hill (now
buech. I nset: our newest will encounter in more depth later.
Kuech. Inset: our newest
feed. Upper-level electives provide
opportunities for students to
broaden and deepen their knowledge of particular areas of
interest. Brian Pfleger has recently revived and updated a
popular Biomolecular Engineering Laboratory, while Paul
Nealey's course Plastics and High Polymers Laboratory pro-
vides students access to state-of-the-art equipment for polymer
characterization. Tom Kuech, Nick Abbott, and Jim Dumesic
share their respective expertise in Electronic Materials, Col-
loid and Interface Science, and Heterogeneous Catalysis.
Thatcher Root has recently developed a new class in Energy
and Sustainability, and also offers an undergraduate seminar-
type class called Chemical Engineering Connections, where
students explore chemical engineering topics that appear in
the headlines.

One of the most distinctive ingredients in our undergraduate
curriculum is CBE 424 Unit Operations Lab, better known as
Summer Lab, an intensive 5-week, 5-credit course that stu-
dents can complete in Madison, or in international locations
(currently Oviedo, Spain, or Vienna, Austria). The formal
experiments involve distillation, heat transfer, humidification,
pumps, and reactors. The larger portion of the lab time is
spent on informal experiments that challenge students through

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

new-technology exploration, reverse engineering, product
development, and optimization tasks. The experiments are
not "scripted" but rather demand creativity and independent
initiative as students construct their own apparatus and design
experiments to achieve their goals. The pilot-scale projects
closely resemble what students will encounter in industry.
This course provides great value-added to employers of our
students by strengthening skills such as teamwork, commu-
nication, time management, and creativity. Succinct oral and
written communication also are emphasized, with memos fa-
vored over full reports, to reflect real-world practices. Students
work with a variety of "bosses" for their different projects, and
the diverse staff includes visiting faculty from abroad, retired
practicing engineers, and UW-Madison faculty to provide a
variety of perspectives, background, and expertise.Awards are
given to pairs of students who exhibit the best teamwork and
the most creative solutions. In a recent CBE alumni survey,
one responder commented:
"As of your first day on the job, employers don't care what
school you went to, how your grades were or how smart you
think you are. They care that you are able to work on a team,
solve problems, and finish projects quickly and well. They
also care that you bring a professional attitude to work. CBE
424 demanded all of these things."
We've collected some other comments about Summer Lab
from students in Table 1.

Not content to spend all of their time in the lab or the library,
undergraduate students at UW participate in an enormous
variety of extracurricular activities. In any given year, about
100 students are conducting undergraduate research projects,
30 students are participating in 6-month industrial co-op ex-
periences, and three students are studying abroad. Students
participate in college activities from the Schoofs Prize for
Creativity to the Burrill Technology Business Plan Compe-

: ..-. i

Graduate students from Nick Abbott's group examine
nanostructured materials.

Student Reflections on Summer Lab
This course gave practicality to the other coursework (book stuff).
This course simulated real work more than any other. It was very
focused and allowed the student to consume themselves in some-
thing for a period of time.
I think learning how to solve the problem was pretty cool. The
frustration I had with the course was the difficulty in building
things. I do similar things all the time in my job, but I have a well-
stocked storeroom with nuts and bolts and screws and fasteners
of all types plus I can order anything I need on the Internet, while
summer lab was an exercise in scavenging.
While very intensive, to say the least, that class alone provided
enough practical application of the CHE concepts I learned to, and
I quote, "stun" various interviewers. They were very impressed
that independent projects, especially nine of them in five weeks
with write-ups, were undertaken in undergraduate courses.
Teamwork was another aspect that was learned-it did prepare
me for the array of people that you have to form teams with in the
professional world.
I took mine in Oviedo and really enjoyed the chance to study and
live temporarily in a foreign country and still study in English.
Very hands-on and met awesome people from Clemson in Vienna.
I am still friends with them and one is my boyfriend.
Its only value was as a personal test of endurance.
Once you accomplish this course, you can get through almost
There's some sense of pride that comes in finishing it, as well as
some sense of "you should have to do it since I did!"
Pure torture.

tition to Engineering Expo-a three-day event run entirely
by students that brings more than 10,000 visitors to campus.
Introduced in 2007, participation in iGEM, (international
Genetically Engineered Machines) is increasingly popular,
as student teams from universities around the world compete
to design, conduct, and communicate experimental research
projects in the field of synthetic biology. Teams receive a
set of DNA molecules, called "biobricks," that they have to
assemble into functional devices. The 2011 UW-iGEM team
investigated the use of biosensors to quantify two biofuels,
ethanol and alkanes, using red fluorescent protein as a sig-
naling device. To improve the sensitivity and dynamic range
of these E. coli-based biosensors, the team constructed an
operon of genes for use in an iterative selection process. Once
optimized, the biosensors will be used to screen libraries of
bacteria in search of strains that yield high levels of biofuel.
At press time we learned that the team won a gold medal in
a regional competition and was invited to present their work
at the iGEM World Finals.

Wisconsin CBE faculty have a penchant for putting pen
to paper (fingers to keyboard?). Table 2 shows a list of some
of the books authored by past and present members of our

Chemical Engineering Education

Books Authored or Co-authored by Wisconsin Chemical Engineering Faculty
Author Title Year
O.P. Watts Laboratory Course in Electrochemistry 1914
O.A. Hougen and K.M. Watson Industrial Chemical Calculations 1931, 1936
O.A. Hougen and K.M. Watson Chemical Process Principles (vol 1) Material and Energy 1943, 1954
O.A. Hougen and K.M. Watson Chemical Process Principles (vol 2) Thermodynamics 1947, 1959
O.A. Hougen and K.M. Watson Chemical Process Principles (vol 3) Kinetics and Catalysis 1947
O.L. Kowalke Chemical Process Calculations 1947
W.R. Marshall, Jr., and R.L Pigford Applications of Differential Equations to Chemical 1947
Engineering Problems

J.O. Hirschfelder, C.F. Curtiss, and R.B. Bird Molecular Theory of Gases and Liquids 1954, 1964
F. Daniels and J.A. Duffie Solar Energy Research 1955
R.B. Bird, W.E. Stewart, and E.N. Lightfoot Transport Phenomena 1960,2002
R.B. Bird and W.Z. Shetter Een goed begin (A Contemporary Dutch Reader) 1963, 1971
E. J. Crosby Experiments in Transport Phenomena 1961
D.F. Rudd and C.C. Watson Strategy of Process Engineering 1968
W.H. Ray and J. Szekely Process Optimization 1973
D.F. Rudd, G.J. Powers, and J.J. Siirola Process Synthesis 1973
E.N. Lightfoot Transport Phenomena and Living Systems 1977
J.A. Duffie and W.A. Beckman Solar Energy Thermal Processes 1977
E.E. Daub, R.B. Bird, and N. Inoue Comprehending Technical Japanese 1975
P.M. Berthouex and D.F. Rudd Strategy of Pollution Control 1977
C.G. Hill An Introduction to Chemical Engineering Kinetics and Reactor 1977
R.B. Bird, R.C. Armstrong, and 0. Hassager Dynamics of Polymeric Liquids (vol 1) Fluid Mechanics 1977, 1987
R.B. Bird, O. Hassager, R.C. Armstrong, and Dynamics of Polymeric Liquids (vol 2) Kinetic Theory 1977, 1987
C.F. Curtiss
J.A. Duffie and W.A. Beckman Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes 1980, 1991
W.H. Ray Advanced Process Control 1981
W.Z. Shetter and R.B. Bird Reading Dutch 1985
E.E. Daub, R.B. Bird, and N. Inoue Basic Technical Japanese 1990
S. Kim and S.J. Karrila Microhydrodynamics: Principles and Selected Applications 1991
J.A. Dumesic, D.F. Rudd, L.M. Aparicio, The Microkinetics of Heterogeneous Catalysis 1993
J.E. Rekoske, and A.A. Trevino
B.A. Ogunnaike and W.H. Ray Process Dynamics, Modeling, and Control 1994
N. Phan-Thien and S. Kim Microstructures in Elastic Media: Principles and Computational 1994
J.B. Rawlings and J.G. Ekerdt Chemical Reactor Analysis and Design Fundamentals 2002
R.M. Murphy Introduction to Chemical Processes: Principles, Analysis, 2007
W.E. Stewart and M. Caracotsios Computer-Aided Modeling of Reactive Systems 2008
J.B. Rawlings and D.Q. Mayne Model Predictive Control: Theory and Design 2009

department. This impressive list includes some texts that have
revolutionized the teaching and practice of chemical engineer-
ing, pushing the field "Forward." But did you know that Bob
Bird has co-authored several books on Japanese and Dutch?

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

Recent textbook efforts include the 2nd edition of BSL (42
years after the first!), Jim Rawlings' book (with co-author
John Ekerdt) that brings a new, mathematical/network ap-
proach to chemical kinetics, and Regina Murphy's text with

Bryce Richter, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Win or lose, the Wisconsin Badger football team draws a large, enthusiastic crowd to Camp Randall.

a modem, design-based approach to material and energy bal-
ances. Also in the works is the text Chemical, Biological and
Materials Engineering Thermodynamics, co-authored by Juan
de Pablo and UW alumni Jay Schieber, and a 2nd edition
of Charlie Hill's best-seller, An Introduction to Chemical
Engineering Kinetics & Reactor Design.
Those of you who still have nightmares about those gruel-
ing homework sets on transport phenomena will be happy to
learn about a new text now in the works. Dan Klingenberg
is co-author, with Bob Bird of a new book, Introduction to
Transport Phenomena, more in tune with the level of math-
ematical understanding of typical undergraduates. The new
edition brings in Dan's years of experience in the classroom in
our one-semesterjunior-level transport course, along with his
research in rheology and his industrial consulting experiences.
BSLK will re-arrange the presentation of shell balances, add
missing steps in many examples and derivations, delete some
of the most advanced concepts (those infamous Class C and
D problems), and add chapters on dimensional analysis.

The University of Wisconsin campus is situated smack dab
in the middle of the city of Madison, a lively college town plus
state capitol. You can argue about the state's choice of milk as
its official beverage while enjoying a pitcher of Wisconsin's
unofficial state beverage at the Union Terrace and watching
the sunset over Lake Mendota. State Street is the pedestrian
thoroughfare, lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, that links
Bascom Hill at the center of campus with the Capitol Square.
There are plenty of opportunities for music and theater, both
on campus and in the beautiful Overture Center for the Arts.
Outdoor activities abound; bicycling the rolling hills of the
surrounding farmland is particularly popular. Winter brings
out the ice fishermen, ice sailors, hockey players, and cross
country skiers. Badger athletics keep sports fans happy. And
at every football game there is the opportunity to try out the
polka when the marching band plays "Roll out the barrel!" 0

Chemical Engineering Education



Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907

New faculty are often surprised how busy they have
become setting up a research program, writing pa-
pers and proposals, teaching and learning to teach,
prioritizing competing tasks, and understanding a new work
environment. The focus of the first part of the paper is bal-
ancing one's life while earning tenure and promotion. After
discussing the promotion and tenure (P&T) procedures at
research and undergraduate institutions, time management
techniques are presented for teaching, research, and service.
Since more experienced professors also often have difficulty
balancing myriad urgent tasks, they may also benefit from
some of the suggestions.

Assistant professors should start their careers by clarifying
their vision and deciding what goals are important to them.
Some of the goals that other people in this position have
thought are important include: P&T, focus and time with a
significant other, family (and a key question is when to have
a baby?), starting a company, becoming rich or famous, run-
ning a marathon, or spending significant time playing golf,
fishing, or reading. The assistant professors' major professors
and the other professors at their new institutions will assume
that P&T is the absolute number one priority. But it is not their
life. Everyone should periodically spend some time deciding
what is truly important.
Most people have multiple goals. For example, they want
to become a respected member of the academic community
and earn P&T, but they also want to have a life. Having a life
means that additional goals are also important. To achieve
multiple goals most people need to prioritize and balance.
Some engineering professors have decided, after prioritizing,
that a tenure-track position at a major research university was
too all consuming and did not leave time for other important
goals. Thus, they made the decision to be instructors (non-
tenure track), go into industry, pursue another career, or quit
and raise a family.
Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

Assistant professors who decide that P&T is one of their
important goals should obtain and study the written rules.
The written rules will help them understand the procedure
and timing. Although the written rules are normally followed
(not following them invites a lawsuit), they are never the
entire story. To fill out the details of the entire story assistant
professors need to discuss the unwritten requirements with
knowledgeable professors both inside and outside their depart-
ment. Because unwritten rules can be interpreted differently,
knowledgeable professors will disagree; however, one can
usually triangulate closely enough to what will happen during
the process to provide useful guidelines.
Typical P&T requirements differ for research universi-
ties and undergraduate institutions .[-31 At research universi-
ties the number one requirement is Money! The goal is to
raise at least enough money to support the professor's re-
search. Once money is obtained quality publications in good
journals are expected. Some of these publications should be
with graduate students, some should be collaborations with
other professors, and some can be sole author publications.
The ultimate goal of the publications is Impact which is
measured by looking at quality, citations, invitations to
present plenary lectures and seminars at other institutions,
and a general buzz that one is doing great research. It helps
to have Ph.D. graduates accept academic positions. Since
impact takes time, for promotion to associate professor in-

Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Phil Wankat is the Clifton L. Lovell
Distinguished Professor of Chemical
Engineering at Purdue University He
is associate editor of CEE.

stitutions look for the Potential for impact through research.
At many research institutions good, but not great, teaching
is a minimal requirement although great teaching may help
for early or slightly marginal promotions. Usually the only
measure used by research institutions to assess teaching is
student evaluations. Good citizenship and service -typically
being friendly and doing one's share of the menial work-is
expected. Professors are rarely promoted for citizenship
and service although lack of citizenship and service may
block promotion.
At undergraduate institutions the number one priority for
P&T is good to great Teaching. The goal is still Impact, but
it is impact through graduates. Because teaching is more im-
portant, additional measures such as peer reviews and teaching
portfolios may be used in addition to student evaluations to
assess teaching.Advising, service, and citizenship are usually
more important than at research institutions, and advising
may be considered as another form of teaching. Most under-
graduate institutions expect a modest amount of research,
but most of the research will be done with undergraduates.
Grants still need to be obtained to support the research, but
the amount of money required is significantly less than at a
research university.
Usually in research universities (computer engineering
is an exception) archival journal publications are the gold
standard and publications in proceedings are almost ignored.
Determine which archival journals are most prestigious. The
same tends to be true for research grants-in general, NSF
and National Institutes of Health grants are prestigious. Once
assistant professors have some idea of what their departments
and institutions are looking for, they can develop activities
that will satisfy promotion and tenure committees. Then spend
time every week on at least one of these activities. Of course,
at the same time they need to balance their lives, and being
efficient can help them do this.

Goals and Activities
One immutable fact of academic life is there is never enough
time. This does not change after promotion. Because of this,
most professors will benefit from better time management.[2-4
A good place to start is by setting goals and prioritizing.
Goals are what one would like to accomplish in a given time
frame. Unfortunately, most professors have multiple goals
that compete for time. Multiple goals can either be worked
on simultaneously or one can delay working on some goals
until other goals have been achieved. For example, common
advice for engineering assistant professors is to not write a
book until they have been promoted. This is normally good
advice, but the danger with waiting is one may never achieve
some important goals. On the other hand, working on a num-
ber of goals simultaneously tends to dilute the effort on every
goal and it is easy to become unfocused.

New assistant professors often find that a semester goal list
and a six-year goal list (the usual time frame for promotion
to associate professor) are useful. For example, the six-year
goal list may include being promoted and taking a vacation
in the Bahamas. Once the goal list is prepared, prioritize it.
Prioritizing may show that the vacation in the Bahamas should
be delayed until after promotion is received-and then it will
serve as a reward.
Achievement of many goals such as being promoted
depends on the decision of others. After triangulating the
requirements for promotion at their schools, assistant profes-
sors need to determine activities that will help them achieve
this and other goals. The analysis of the P&T process should
have identified these activities. At research universities writ-
ing proposals and papers are appropriate activities for the
goal of being promoted.
Efficiency Tools
A To-Do list delineates items that one hopes to accomplish
in a given time frame. It is useful to have several To-Do lists
such as semester, weekly, and daily To-Do lists. For assistant
professors the semester and weekly lists typically include goals
for the P&T committee, their own work goals (which hopefully
will partially overlap with the goals for the P&T committee),
and high-priority non-work goals such as exercising. The daily
list, which is often on a desk calendar, will include the mundane
tasks such as attending committee meetings and writing lectures
plus one activity that will help achieve a long-term goal. If an
item is not finished one day, it is moved to the next.
Another important efficiency tool is to learn how to delegate
work. Professors often do menial tasks that could be done by
a secretary or work-study student. There are other tasks such
as helping to prepare proposals and submitting papers that
graduate students can do and that will help prepare them for
research positions when they graduate. When delegating, give
clear assignments and delegate responsibility for the details.
Check on progress and provide feedback on the final product,
not on the details of how the work was accomplished. Finally,
give credit for good work. A sincere thank you, acknowledg-
ment in a paper, or flowers will be greatly appreciated, and
they help later tasks go smoothly.
Learn to say no pleasantly. One very useful response is
"Let me think about it." Even if one eventually says no,
the appearance of due diligence is helpful. Another useful
response, particularly with supervisors, is "What would you
like me to stop doing to take on this task?" Since department
heads are not always aware of what extra work a professor
does, reminding them can be useful.
The 55-Hour Rule and Family
It is very easy to work too much. Maximum productivity
occurs with a steady rate of about 55 hours of work per week
with one day off per week. Everyone needs to have time for
other parts of their lives.
Chemical Engineering Education

Professors need to reserve time for themselves and their
families ("family" broadly represents people who are impor-
tant to the professor). Five 10-hour days plus 1/2 a day on the
weekend with at most six work days per week will be close
to maximum productivity and allows for significant family
time. Balancing work and family is often a stress point, and
all studies indicate that balancing is harder for women because
society has expectations that women will do more care giv-
ing.5' Most people also need some alone time to refresh their
batteries. This can be as simple as driving or walking to work,
or losing oneself in a computer game for an hour. Developing
a flow activity in which one's brain is focused entirely on the
activity (examples include golf, cooking, jogging, fishing, or
wood working) also refreshes and recharges one's brain.[6] A
nice way to engage in a flow activity is to take short vacations
by leaving a day early for a conference and spending one day
engaging in the flow activity.

Numerous studiest71 have shown that the following elements
lead to student learning.
1. Students involved in learning
2. Students actively processing material
3. Both students and faculty have positive expectations
4. Practice reflection -feedback, and repeat
5. Student time on task
6. Challenged, yet successful students
7. Enthusiastic, engaging teacher.
Note that this list implies that lecturing to a passive audience
will not lead to optimum learning. What the students do is
much more important than what the instructor does.
Straight lecturing with passive students is not the optimum
teaching method. Lecture can, however, be a good method
for transferring information (only mastery learning is clearly
superior); thus, it is reasonable that lecturing be part of every-
one's teaching arsenal. Because lecture is not a good method
for teaching higher-order skills such as critical thinking,
creativity, design, communication skills, and team skills, do
not overdo it.[3.4. 81 Lecture has a number of advantages for
new faculty. New professors are familiar with the lecture
mode of teaching because they were probably taught that way.
Departments and students usually expect that new faculty
will lecture as their primary teaching method. In addition,
lecturing does not require preparing far in advance. Lectures
can be prepared a day or even a few hours before the class,
and it is easy to adjust lectures if the class moves ahead or
behind the course schedule.
One key to a good lecture is to be sure that the students are
not passive for long periods. Remember that the average at-
Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

New professors often believe they need

a long chunk of uninterrupted time

to prepare lectures. Then when they

find that long chunks of uninterrupted

time are very rare, they do not know

how to proceed. A more efficient and

effective approach is to build a lecture

like a house.

tention span of undergraduates sitting passively in lecture (10
to 15 minutes) puts a constraint on lectures. If the instructor
keeps talking past students' attention spans he/she will lose
them for a few minutes. As the passive lecture continues,
attention spans tend to decrease. To combat this, use mini-
lectures with active learning breaks. The 10- to 15-minute
mini-lecture is organized in a straightforward manner. Start
with a short (30 seconds to one minute) opener that connects
with previous work.
Then the main body of the mini-lecture explains the critical
information. This is followed with a brief summary that also
connects to the next step.
Breaks are used in between mini-lectures to provide time for
the students to be active (or occasionally reflective). Breaks
could be used for student introductions, small group discus-
sions, stretch/restroom, one-minute quiz, demonstration, catch
up on note-taking and share notes with a neighbor, quiz, reflec-
tion, and so-forth. The breaks should connect to the course
objectives although an occasional break for fun is OK. Most
breaks have to be prepared for in advance, although there are
a few break methods such as brainstorming that can be used
with little preparation. Active breaks will energize the class
and provide enough student focus for another 10 to 15 minutes
of mini-lecture. Initially students will be hesitant to start an
activity. They have to be trained to talk to each other! But
once they start they will not want to stop -it helps to have a
signal such as a bell or flashing the room lights that the break
is over. In order to have time for breaks the instructor must
control content tyranny, which is letting the need to cover
content control the teaching method. Relaxing in class and
acting human is more important than covering everything.
New professors often believe they need a long chunk of
uninterrupted time to prepare lectures. Then when they find
that long chunks of uninterrupted time are very rare, they
do not know how to proceed. A more efficient and effective
approach is to build a lecture like a house. Houses are built
by starting with the foundation, frame, outer walls, and roof
first, then finishing touches are done room by room. It is also

not unusual to move into a house before many of the finish-
ing touches are finished. Houses and lectures are not built
in one day. Start building a lecture with 10 to 15 minutes on
the foundation and frame, and finish later. If "later" turns
out to be after the lecture, instead of apologizing for the lack
of preparation, lecture from the detailed outline. Most new
professors are pleasantly surprised with how well this lecture
is received. Most new professors spend too much time pre-
paring lectures. They need to force themselves to learn how
to prepare a new lecture-assuming they already know the
material-in a maximum of two hours for a 50-minute lecture.
Since controlling content tyranny starts at the preparation
stage, also resist the urge to add those additional details that
were just discovered last week.

Active Learning
Because it is what students do that leads to learning, teaching
methods that force students to be active are often very effective.
(9] In small classes students can be asked to solve problems at
the board, and then selected students can explain their solution
to the class. In classes of any size cooperative groups can be
formed in which students work together to learn the material.[4,
9-101 Successful use of long-term cooperative groups requires that
individual group members can only be successful if the entire
group is successful, but at the same time each member is held
individually responsible for learning the material. Thus, there
must be some type of individual assessment such as quizzes.
Project- and problem-based learning (PBL) are similar group
methods except in project-based learning (commonly used
in capstone design classes) students integrate what they have
learned in previous courses to complete a project while in PBL
new material must be used to solve the problem.[3, 9 11] PBL
can be difficult for less mature students particularly if there is
not considerable tutorial support. The professor needs to have
some skill as a facilitator if any groups become dysfunctional
or student learning will be impaired.
Both hands-on and computer simulation laboratories require
students to be actively involved in the process. Although a
certain amount of cookbook instruction may be required
initially, student learning is enhanced if they can ask and
attempt "what-if' questions and learn by exploring. Mastery
learning41] takes the usual college formula for learning (time
is fixed and the amount learned is variable) and reverses it
by giving students opportunities to master the material with
no or modest time constraints. For example, in a computer
simulation lab we use a two-hour time limit for a mastery
quiz that some students finish in 20 minutes. The students
complete the quiz, have it scored, and are told what is wrong
but not why it is wrong. They then return to their computer
to fix their errors. This process is continued until they either
have the quiz perfect with no penalty for repeated trials, or
they run out of time. Over 95% successfully complete the quiz.
Mastery learning is an excellent approach to bring students
up to minimal standards on a critical skill.

Since these methods are unfamiliar to most professors and
they, like lecture, can fail, professors trying the methods for
the first time should obtain assistance. Either find a profes-
sor locally who has successfully used the method or attend a
teaching workshop that provides hands-on experience with
the method. It is often a good idea to start slowly and use the
method for only parts of a course. For example, it is relatively
easy to start using informal groups during break periods in a
lecture class. Since groups are together for only a short pe-
riod and student grades do not depend upon the group work,
dysfunctional groups are rarely a problem.
A Baker's Dozen Useful Teaching Tips2' 3, 8, 9
1. Write and share course objectives. Students are more
likely to learn what the instructor wants them to if they
know what that is.
2. Come to class early and stay late. Before or after class
is the easiest timefor students to talk to the professor
and many students will never come to office hours.
Before and after class is the most efficient time for the
professor. In addition, coming to class early sends the
subtle psychological message that the professor wants
to be there.
3. Solve tests, quizzes, and homework before handing them
out. If problems are not solved in advance sooner or
later one of the problems will be unsolvable, and fair
grading becomes very difficult if not impossible.
4. Make sure there is enough time available for tests.
Students typically take 3 to 5 times longer than the
professor to solve problems.
5. Allow students to request test regrades, but require that
requests be in writing on a separate sheet of paper that
is attached to their test. Occasionally a student who
uses an unusual but correct solution method will make
a simple algebraic or arithmetic error. In the rush of
grading a large number of tests it is easy to overlook
that the method was essentially correct and give too
low a score. Allowing regrades provides redress. The
requirement of written regrades reduces the amount of
trivial requests.
6. If teaching assistants are used, train them. Go over a
number of test problems and show how to grade them.
Discuss the best way to tutor students. Explain how to
operate a laboratory, computer, or recitation section.
Discuss proper interactions with undergraduates.
7. After the first test, ask the students what will help them
learn and make some of the changes suggested. Ifind
that 3X5 cards turned in anonymously are useful for
8. List office hours and be available during office hours.
Tell students that other times can be arranged by ap-
9. Lecture less! Use active-learning methods.
10. Learn the students'names. This will increase rapport
and reduce the amount of cheating.
Chemical Engineering Education

11. Use an absolute grading scale (e.g., 90 and above is an
A) as a guarantee of grades, but give yourself the right
to lower the cut-off points.
12. Attend at least one teaching workshop. The ASEE Na-
tional Effective Teaching Institute (NETI), which is held
immediately before the ASEE annual meeting, is highly
recommended. Use of a modest amount of an assistant
professor's start-up package to attend a teaching work-
shop will pay handsome research dividends because he/
she will do a better job teaching in less time. This will
provide more time and energy to start research.
13. Remember: what students do is more important than
what the instructor does.

Research changes when one becomes a professor.2, 3 12]
Less time will be available to actually do research; instead,
professors become managers and funders of research groups.
Obtaining money through grants and contracts becomes a
major responsibility. In many engineering departments if a
professor has no money there will be no graduate students.
Budgeting is also a major responsibility. Careful budgeting
and use of start-up money can greatly increase the amount of
research that can be accomplished.

Money and Proposals[131
How much money is needed to support an active engi-
neering research program? Assume a professor at a research
university plans to average one Ph.D./year at steady state
and that the average time for a Ph.D. to graduate is between
four and five years. In addition, assume that this professor
will graduate one terminal M.S. every two years. At major
research universities this group of five to six students is of
moderate size. Depending on the type of research done and
the stipend paid to graduate students, the current cost of one
graduate student including tuition, equipment, supplies, and
overhead will be in the range from $40,000 to $100,000 per
year. For certain types of research these estimates are low. Plus
at most schools professors need to raise money for two to three
months of summer salary plus from 5 to 15 % of academic
year salary, and they have to pay overhead on these amounts.
The estimated total is between $250,000 to $600,000/year. In
order to raise this much money every year professors need to
become proficient at writing successful proposals. Attending
a proposal writing workshop will probably pay dividends.
Unfortunately, obtaining funding is a challenge. Ap-
proximately 60% of science and engineering support is from
federal agencies. The typical success rate is 10 to 15% in the
engineering directorate, about 15% for NSF CAREER pro-
posals and about 15% for NIH R01 for new faculty. In order
to survive with these low percentages, many new faculty will
submit close to 10 proposals/year. Of course, many of these
proposals are revisions of previous unsuccessful proposals,
with revisions following the advice of the reviewers.
Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

For NSF and similar government proposals do not give the
panel obvious reasons to decline your proposal. First, follow
the proposal preparation rules. If the limit on number of pages
of text is 15 with 11-point font do not try to turn in 20 pages
and do not try to turn in 15 pages with 10-point font. Failure
to follow the rules will usually disqualify the proposal. If the
page limit is 15 pages, use very close to the full 15 pages. A
10-page proposal looks like the proposer does not have enough
ideas. Complaining or whining about the lack of university
support or how difficult it has been to obtain research funds
will not endear oneself to the reviewers. Proofread the pro-
posal carefully. Reviewers tend to think that writers of sloppy
proposals will do sloppy research. Since there is always prior
research, cite the work of other researchers in a positive fash-
ion. The presentation of research needs to balance the broad
picture with details. Most of the members of the review panel
will not be expert in the research details. Thus, the proposal
needs to explain the importance of the research. There will
probably be at least one expert in the research area on the
panel, however, and the opinion of this expert will be given a
lot of weight by the other panelists. Thus, the proposal should
provide sufficient research details to convince the expert that
the proposer understands the research area, has chosen an
important problem to work on, and has a clear approach to
solve the problem.
Although the research part of NSF CAREER proposals is
the most important part, the final decision of who receives
a grant is often made based on the teaching part of the CA-
REER proposal. This apparent paradox occurs because there
is usually too little money to fund all of the proposals with
excellent research. Thus, the teaching part of the proposal
often becomes the tie-breaker. Because of this, the teaching
part must be prepared as carefully as the research part. There
must be a literature review with appropriate references for
both the content and the proposed pedagogy (e.g., refer to the
books in the References and to appropriate articles in Chemi-
cal Engineering Education and the Journal of Engineering
Education). CAREER proposals typically include new course
development and involving undergraduates in research; how-
ever, chances of receiving funding increase when a creative
idea is included. The teaching part of the proposal is much
more believable if the proposer documents long-standing
interest in teaching and in training undergraduate researchers.
In addition, reviewers like proposals that include plausible
efforts to increase diversity and do K-12 outreach. NSF also
requires evaluation and dissemination of results. Thus, the
teaching part should include an educational research project.
There are strategies to learn quickly what the funding
agencies want. Ask successful professors in your department
to share the narrative portion of successful proposals with
you. Collaborate with a more experienced professor and
help develop a proposal as co-PI. Attend the NSF sessions at
AIChE meetings and make a point to talk individually with
the program directors. Contact the appropriate program direc-

tor and volunteer to serve on a review panel for a proposal
round that you do not intend to submit a proposal to. Watch
the reactions of the panelists and the program director to
different proposals and see which ones are funded. E-mail
the program director a short description of the proposed re-
search and a list of specific questions, or take a few minutes
at a review panel to discuss proposal ideas with the program
director. Surprisingly, advice to not submit (you will have to
interpret the program director's lack of enthusiasm as a no)
is just as valuable as advice to submit.
Effective Research
Running a research program and directing graduate students
is quite different from doing research as a graduate student.
The assistant professor must develop and fund research.
Although it is common for assistant professors to stay in
the same general area as their Ph.D./postdoctoral research
and to finish some promising ideas from that research, P&T
committees like new professors to go beyond this area. A
balanced portfolio of initial research projects will have one
or two projects that continue Ph.D./post-doc research, one
or two new projects within the same research field and, if
interested, one or two projects in a new research field. The
portfolio can also balance high-risk with low-risk projects
and balance slow publication/high-impact articles with fast
publication/low-impact articles, although the impact of ar-
ticles can be a surprise. Because of the time it takes to start a
research program, assistant professors should not expect their
graduate students to produce all the publications needed for
promotion. Research papers need to be written with graduate
students, in collaboration with another professor, and alone.
Students doing research are engaged in a type of experiential
learning with their advisor as the teacher/guide. The pedagogi-
cal goal is to provide enough assistance to help students avoid
costly errors, but to allow them enough freedom to discover
how to conduct research. Unfortunately, there is a built-in con-
flict of interest since professors want to obtain research results
as quickly as possible, but still need to allow students enough
freedom to make mistakes, grow, and become independent
researchers. Ph.D. students should not be treated as highly
competent technicians who are expected to do what they are
told. Keep the welfare of each graduate student paramount.
Since different students have different needs, the amount of
direction and help provided to hone their skills will be dif-
ferent and should decrease as students mature as researchers.
The goal is to help the students achieve their career goals,
not to produce clones unless that is the student's career goal.
Once the research reaches a certain state, research papers
need to be written. Writing is the hardest part for most gradu-
ate students and many new professors.13,14] As noted in the
discussion on preparing lectures, long periods of uninterrupted
time are unlikely to appear. Fortunately, long uninterrupted
periods of time are not needed to write. The key is to write
several times every week and if possible every day.

A scheduled 30-minute writing/editing period every day
will result in a completed paper much faster than waiting
for that elusive block of free time. Although it is tempting
to perfect each sentence before proceeding, most professors
(there clearly are exceptions) will produce a high-quality
paper faster if they write the first draft as quickly as they can
and then edit.
Co-authoring papers is part of the education of graduate
students. It is a truly rare graduate student who knows how
to write a research paper. Even students with an excellent
command of English will have difficulty properly structuring
a research paper. Thus, the professor needs to provide suf-
ficient scaffolding in the form of example papers, step-by-step
critiques of several outlines and word-by-word critiques of
several drafts of the paper. The first paper that a graduate
student "writes" will take the professor more time than if
the professor had written it alone. Fortunately, there will be
improvement and time spent on the first paper will be saved
in later papers and in the student's thesis.

Assistant professors are rarely promoted and tenured on
the basis of collegiality and service, although the lack of col-
legiality and service may prevent promotion and tenure., 13
Since schools are making roughly a 30-year commitment
when a new professor is tenured, some expectation that the
professor will be collegial and pleasant is reasonable. Be col-
legial-smile! Say hello to colleagues in the hall. Network
roughly two hours per week with colleagues. An occasional
lunch or coffee with colleagues can help them get to know
you and make any charges of lack of collegiality harder to
sustain. It is neither realistic nor necessary to like all of your
colleagues, but polite social behavior is expected. If possible,
assistant professors are advised to avoid controversy.
Assistant professors should aim to be considered a good
contributor to the departmental service load without spend-
ing too much time on this service. This is true for both un-
dergraduate institutions and research universities, although
expectations for service are typically higher at the former.
In other words, assistant professors should do their share
within the department and engage in a reasonable number
of the common duties that every department has to perform.
These common duties include attending committee meetings,
meeting with visitors, hosting alumni, helping to write and
grade qualifying examinations, and so forth. Volunteer to
be in charge of one task or committee. For example, being
in charge of the departmental seminar program is useful for
assistant professors since it is great opportunity to network
with professors from other schools.
Most engineering programs are trying very hard to attract
more women and underrepresented minorities to engineering.
When women and underrepresented minorities are hired as
assistant professors, there is a natural tendency to ask them
Chemical Engineering Education

to serve on committees, advise undergraduate organizations,
and help in recruiting. Unfortunately, the positive good of
these roles is rarely reflected in the primary P&T require-
ments. A chat with the department chair may be very helpful
in deciding how to respond to an invitation from the Dean or
upper administrators. At a minimum the chat will make the
chair aware of the extra service burden requested of women
and underrepresented minorities. Since the decision of what
extra duties to accept is ultimately up to the professor, it may
be helpful to remember that upper administrators seldom vote
on P&T decisions.
Finally, become involved in the profession. Join AIChE
and ASEE and attend some regional and national meetings.
Volunteering to serve on committees and co-chair symposia
helps one to be known by other professors, which will make
it easier to obtain letters of recommendation. Since presenting
seminars at other universities is considered a sign of impact,
leap at this opportunity.

So far, we have focused on the challenges of being a new
engineering professor without discussing the joys of being a
professor. Being a professor is a job, but for people with the
right skills and attitude it is the best job in the world. Work-
ing with students can be a joy. The growth of a student from
fresh high school graduate to accomplished college graduate
ready to start an engineering career is often amazing. And
engineering professors make a significant contribution to that
growth. Professors also have freedom to develop and conduct
the research that they find interesting. They have the oppor-
tunity to help graduate students blossom into accomplished
researchers who may eventually outstrip the accomplishments
of their major professor. Despite the challenges and occasional

disappointments, being an engineering professor remains one
of the best occupations in the United States.

1. Diamond,R.M., Preparingfor Promotion, Tenure, andAnnual Review.
A Faculty Guide, 2nd edition, Anker Publishing Co., San Francisco,
2004 [ISBN 13 978-1-882982-72-1]
2. Reis, R.M., Tomorrow's Professor, IEEE, New York, 1997 [ISBN
3. Wankat, P.C., The Effective, Efficient Teacher,Allyn & Bacon, Boston,
2002 [ISBN 0-205- 33711-2]
4. Wankat, P.C., and F.S, Oreovicz, Teaching Engineering,McGraw-Hill,
New York, 1993, free as pdf files at
5. Monosson, E., Motherhood, The Elephant in the Laboratory: Women
Scientists Speak Out, Cornell University Press, 2008 [ISBN 978-0-
6. Csikszentmihalyi, M., Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,
Harper-Collins, New York, 1990
7. Chickering,A.W., and Z.F. Gamson, "Seven Principles for Good Prac-
tice in Undergraduate Education," American Association for Higher
Education Bulletin, 39, 3-7 (1987)
8. McKeachie, WJ., Teaching Tips, 9th edition, D.C. Heath & Co., Lex-
ington, MA, 1994 [ISBN 0- 669-19434-4]
9. Prince, MJ., "Does Active Learning Work? AReview of the Research,"
J Engr. Educ., 93(3), 223 (2004)
10. Johnson, D.W., R.T. Johnson, and KA. Smith, "Cooperative Learning
Returns to College: What Evidence is There That It Works?" Change,
30(4), 27-35 (1998)
11. Samford Univerrsity, htm>, accessed Oct.30, 2011
12. Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Howard Hughes Medical Institute,
Making the Right Moves. A Practical Guide to Scientific Management
for Postdocs and New Faculty, 2nd edition, Howard Hughes Medical
Institute, Chevy Chase, MD, 2006 Available online at>
13. Anderson, TJ., and G.A. Prentice, "Workshop: Career Planning for
Prospective New Faculty," AIChE Annual Meeting, Minneapolis,MN,
Session 1, Oct. 16, 2011
14. Boice, R., Advice for New Faculty Members, Allyn & Bacon, Boston,
2000 [ISBN 0-205-28159- 1] 0

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012





Michigan State University East Lansing, MI

Millennial/net generation students are more intercon-
nected than any prior generation, often connecting
through means not commonly used by the faculty.
From a variety of social network sites to the pervasive use
of mobile devices, these digital natives are fully comfortable
interacting with people that, in some cases, they have never
even met in person. Current modes of communication among
instructors, however, still typically default to,in some order of
preference, face-to-face meetings, e-mail, and phone calls. As
such, there may be a disconnect in the ways students would
prefer to interact with their instructors and the ways generally
available to them. It would seem, then, that to maximize stu-
dent engagement, retention, and support, instructors should, if
possible and practical, interact with their students via means
that students prefer.
A classic report established the "Seven Principles for Good
Practice in Undergraduate Education."''1 Among these prin-
ciples, student-instructor interactions are explicitly listed as
critical to maximizing student learning. Recent data, however,
reveal that student-faculty contact outside of class occurs on
average only once per month, with 9% of students not meet-
ing with their instructors outside of class even once during
an entire semester.121 This lack of engagement with their
instructors, combined with a reduced personal investment
in their studies-today's full-time students spend 13 fewer
hours on coursework than students in past generations (27
vs. 40)12,31-has impaired student learning to the point that

one-third of students make no gains in critical thinking dur-
ing four years of undergraduate education.121 Although the
faculty cannot make students choose to work harder, faculty
members can encourage contact by continuing to evolve in

S. Patrick Walton is an associate professor in the Department of Chemi-
cal Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University. He
received his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at Georgia Tech and MIT
respectively. His research interests, in addition to education, are nucleic
acid biotechnology and biomolecular engineering.
Daina Briedis is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engi-
neering and Materials Science at Michigan State University. She has been
involved in several areas of education research including student reten-
tion, curriculum redesign, and the use of technology in the classroom.
She is active nationally and internationally in engineering accreditation
and is a Fellow of ABET and of AIChE.
Stephen Lindeman is a junior at Michigan State University. He is ma-
joring in chemical engineering with plans to pursue a concentration in
biomedical engineering.
Amanda P Malefyt is currently a graduate student in the Department
of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and a member of the
Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST) Fellowship program at
Michigan State University. She received her bachelor's degree from Trine
(formerly Tri-State) University Her research interests include engineering
education and nucleic acid therapeutics.
Jon Sticklen is the director of the Center for Engineering Education
Research at Michigan State University. He is also director ofApplied Engi-
neering Sciences, an undergraduate bachelor of science degree program
in the MSU College of Engineering that focuses both on engineering and
business. He also is an associate professor in the Department of Com-
puter Science and Engineering. Over the last decade, he has pursued
engineering education research focused on early engineering with an
emphasis on hybrid course design and problem-based learning.

Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012
Chemical Engineering Education

how they engage students both in and out of class. Applying
new technologies is often a focus of new strategies/interven-
tions in this regard.[4-71
Among the technologies that should be considered is text
messaging. Roughly 2.5 trillion text messages were sent
worldwide in 2008.[8] A recent Pew Research Center project
determined that 75% of 12- to 17-year-olds own a cell phone
and use texting as their primary mode of communication with
friends, texting at nearly twice the frequency of face-to-face
interactions.19] The frequency with which these students text
also increases as they age, with older students (ages 14-17)
sending roughly 60 messages per day and younger students
(ages 12-13) sending 20. Interestingly, while text messaging
was found to be the preferred means of peer communication,
teens reported using voice calls preferentially to reach their
parents. This suggests that these students recognize that dif-
ferent modes of communication can be useful for communi-
cating with different social groups or for different purposes.
Moreover, it may suggest that the manner by which students
choose to communicate is indicative of the type of relationship
they have or would like to have with the other party.
In this work, we sought to determine if students would want
to use text messaging for professional communication about
chemical engineering course content and if doing so would
increase their engagement with the course. The genesis of the
project was the observation that attendance at office hours
seemed to have decreased dramatically in the last few years,
an observation that was supported by anecdotal evidence from
colleagues. Over the same time period, text messaging had
become essentially universal among students.191 It prompted
the question of whether students' ubiquitous use of this form
of communication, which is inherently distinct from face-
to-face meetings in synchronicity, portability, and relative
anonymity, was in some measure responsible for the decline
in office-hours visits. Thus, could enabling texting for class
communication re-establish the more traditional, and poten-
tially more valuable, routes of communication?

We focused this study on text messaging as it is more
accessible and less formal than e-mail and presumably less
intimidating than phone calls and face-to-face contact. It
was important, however, to consider the practicality of us-
ing texting for an instructor who may not text for personal
or professional communication (as was the case here). To
address this issue and avoid privacy concerns, the texting
contact number provided to the students was a free phone
number provided through Google Voice.Jl1 Use of Google
Voice allowed the instructor and TA to receive and respond to
texts from their computers as if the texts were e-mails. In this
way, the instructor (unlike the TA, who does text regularly)
did not have to learn how to text or use his personal phone
and number.

It was important to consider the

practicality of using textingfor

an instructor who may not text

for personal or professional com-

munication (as was the case here).

Our study primarily sought to test two hypotheses: i) that
students would prefer to interact with their course instruc-
tor via text messaging, as compared to interactions by other
means such as e-mail, phone calls, and office hours; and ii)
that students who text message their instructor would also be
more likely to interact using other means. The rationale of the
second hypothesis was that if a student were willing to make
initial contact with the instructor via a "comfortable" method
(i.e., text messaging), then perhaps the student would be more
likely to engage further with the instructor through means with
which the student may have initially been less comfortable
(i.e., a face-to-face meeting during office hours).
We tested these hypotheses during Material and Energy
Balances in the Fall semester, 2010. The class was composed
of 54% (38 of 71) first-semester sophomore chemical engi-
neering majors with the remainder a distribution of years
and programs (including biotechnology, environmental
engineering, and chemistry). Recognizing the relative youth
of the students in the class-students who are still learning
to navigate college life to some measure-we felt that this
class provided an ideal setting for testing whether using a
relatively new mode of student-instructor communication
would improve the frequency and utility of student-instructor
interactions and, in turn, improve student performance, learn-
ing, retention, and attitude toward the discipline.
The study was set up with two parallel class sections, one
in which student-instructor communication by text messaging
was enabled in addition to the more traditional e-mail, phone,
and face-to-face meetings. In the other section, only e-mail,
phone, and face-to-face meetings were made available to the
students. It should be noted that the instructor was the same
for both sections and tried to be consistent in his interactions
with the students. With this experimental design, we sought
to determine if the availability of text messaging would
change student perceptions and behaviors regarding the use
of texting for communication with the instructor regarding
course content.
Each day at the end of class, the students in both sections
were asked to submit "muddiest point" papers detailing the

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

In terms of getting help from your
professors, how useful are the following:

Face to Face Phone

Email Online Chat Text Message

Figure 1. Comparison of utility of different communica-
tion strategies. Students were asked which communication
methods they felt were most useful for getting assistance
from their professors. Rating scale: 5 = always useful, 4 =
useful, 3 = neutral, 2 = rarely useful, 1 = not useful. Only
face-to-face meetings and e-mail were favorably viewed.
These attitudes did not change between pre-term and post-
term surveys. Data are reported as the median the median
absolute deviation; non-parametric statistical analysis by
Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon rank sum test; ranksum function
in MATLAB with a significance threshold ofp = 0.05.
I like to interact with my professors by:

most confusing part of the day's lecture. In the texting sec-
tion, responses could be submitted by paper or text message,
while in the nontexting section all of the submissions were
on paper. Students in the texting section also had the number
at their disposal for use outside of class. The classroom as-
sessment exercise served to initiate the process of texting in
the texting section and to give students regular reminders of
its availability. We felt that this was a fair way to ensure that
the students did not forget about the availability of the tex-
ting channel while not biasing them into thinking we wanted
them to use it.
To assess the project, we recorded the number of text
messages sent to the instructor and TA, attendance at office
hours (name and section of each student), and the number of
e-mail messages sent to the instructor and TA. In addition,
we performed pre-term and post-term surveys investigating
students' attitudes and preferences regarding student-instruc-
tor communication. We presumed that students would not
have been given the opportunity to use text messaging in
their earlier courses (our pre-term survey data bore this out
with only two students indicating they had previously used
text messaging to contact a professor).

We first wanted to measure students' perceptions of
both the value in using a variety of modes for course com-
munication as well as the students' preferences for one
mode over another (Figures 1-3; note that throughout the
results black shading and patterns are for pre-term data
while gray shading and patterns are for post-term data;
patterns are used to distinguish data from the texting and
nontexting sections). Students indicated that face-to-face
meetings and e-mail were the most effective means of
getting course assistance (Figure 1), and these attitudes
did not markedly change from pre- to post-term whether
analyzed for all the students (Figure 1) or by comparing
the students within each section (data not shown).

Figure 2 (left). Comparison of preference for differ-
ent communication strategies. Students were asked
which methods they preferred for communicating
with the course instructor in pre-term (a.) and post-
term (b.) surveys. Rating scale: 5 = strongly agree, 4 =
agree, 3 = neutral, 2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree.
As with the utility question (Figure 1), only face-to-
face meetings and e-mail were preferred. Interesting-
ly, pre-term preferences showed a significantly more
positive attitude toward texting among the students
in the texting section (a, checkerboard). Data are
reported as the median the median absolute devia-
tion; non-parametric statistical analysis by Mann-
Whitney-Wilcoxon rank sum test; ranksum function
in MATLAB with a significance threshold ofp = 0.05.
indicates p = 0.004.
Chemical Engineering Education

Face to Face Phone Email Online Chat Text Message

Face to Face Phone

Email Online Chat Text Message

There was, however, a difference in attitude
towards texting between the two sections in the
pre-term surveys (Figures 2a and 3a), although
this difference was not evident in the post-term
results (Figures 2b and 3b). The difference in initial
attitude may be a reflection of the timing of the
pre-term survey. Both sections were surveyed im-
mediately following the first class of the semester
during which the syllabus was discussed and the
students in the texting section were made aware
of the availability of texting communication. The
students' audible response to this information (ex-
cited murmuring) suggested that they were glad to
have this communication channel available. This
alone may be evidence suggesting that making
text messaging available to students may improve
their engagement.
Why then did the difference not persist? Firstly,
despite their near universal use of text messaging
to communicate with each other,[91 the students
hardly used texting to communicate with the
instructor and TA during the term-only 22 total
messages were sent to the instructor and TA during
the entire semester. Similar reluctance has been
seen by others in relation to using Facebook and
Twitter to interact with instructors[l,12] and was
specifically described by some students' comments
in the open-ended sections of both the pre-term and
post-term surveys:
"I would never text message a professor or TA.
It just seems weird to me."

"Personally, I would find text messaging my
professor to be really strange."
Based on these results, we speculate that students,
in general, consider text messaging an immediate,
informal, and private approach to communication
with their peers and social networks that is not
suitable for purely professional contacts such as
Secondly, at the end of the first lecture, a num-
ber of students attempted to text muddiest-point
responses but could not due to lack of cellular
signal in the classroom. This very likely limited
the frequency of texting responses, whether in
or out of class, for the entire term, if for no other
reason than the number was not already stored in
the students' phones. This should also serve as a
caveat for those who may be interested in applying
cell phone-based technologies in the classroom for
any purpose.
Ultimately, the number of muddiest-point sub-
missions by paper (over 1,000) far exceeded the
Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

number by text message (8). Perhaps with their pencils/pens already
in hand for note-taking, paper submissions proved more convenient.
Another explanation is that longer submissions or submissions contain-
ing mathematical symbols, though both of these were rare, were more
easily completed by paper. Regardless, this underscores that students
will decide which learning approach they feel is best/easiest for them,
making it important to demonstrate the value of new technologies being
used in instruction.
It should be noted that the text messages that were sent outside of
class were not about course content but rather setting up meetings or
letting the instructor know that the student would not be able to at-
tend class. The instructor and TA did not make the students aware that

Face to Face Phone Email Online Chat Text Message

I like to interact with my teaching assistants by:

Face to Face Phone Email Online Chat Text Message

Figure 3. Comparison of preference for different communication
strategies. Students were asked which methods they preferred for
communicating with the course TA in pre-term (a.) and post-term
(b.) surveys. Rating scale: 5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3 = neutral,
2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree. As with the utility question (Fig-
ure 1), only face-to-face meetings and e-mail were preferred. Inter-
estingly, pre-term preferences showed a significantly more positive
attitude toward texting among the students in the texting section
(a, checkerboard). Data are reported as the median the median
absolute deviation; non-parametric statistical analysis by Mann-
Whitney-Wilcoxon rank sum test; ranksum function in MATLAB
with a significance threshold of p = 0.05. indicates p = 0.006.

text messages sent to them would not go directly to
I like to interact with Professor Walton by: their phones. Perhaps if they knew that sending text
5 messages outside of class would not interrupt the
a.) ,I Tr*lrg instructor and TA, they would have been more likely
Sn..r, i., to text. Alternatively, if they knew that they would
not necessarily receive an immediate response to a
text, perhaps they would be even less likely to send
-. messages in this manner. In future studies, we will
continue to explore these questions.
S- Potential Impact: Text Messaging Availability
SDespite no persistent change in expressed prefer-
S- ences towards communication and little overall use
of texting, having the texting channel available may
_still have had an impact on student attitudes and
Face to Face Phone Email Online Chat Text Message behavior. In comparing the post-term results from
the two sections, there was a significantly higher,
I like to interact with the TA by: if still only neutral, rating of text messaging in the
S texting section vs. the nontexting section, but only in

b.) I NioI.nI,,n-. regards to the specific instructor and TA (Figure 4).

Figure 4 (left). Impact of the availability of texting
.' on post-term student preferences. A comparison
of the post-term preferences from the texting
(checkerboard) and non-texting (horizontal lines)
Sections shows that the testing section expressed a
i significantly higher preference for text messaging
With regards to the specific instructor (a.) and TA
|I. (b.). Rating scale: 5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3
'- = neutral, 2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree. Data
Face to Face Phone Email Online Chat Text Message are reported as the median the median absolute
deviation; non-parametric statistical analysis by
Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon rank sum test; ranksum
function in MATLAB with a significance threshold of p = 0.05.
40 0.93 indicates p = 0.002 (a) orp = 0.024 (b).
35 0.92

30 091 50_
30 0 : 091 Pre-term
25 40 ] Post-term
25- .. .-. 0.90 40

S20 0.89 <
0 V 30
0 15 0.88 C I-
10 0.87 I
I i E 20
5 0.86
0 0.85 10
Texting Non-texting e

Figure 5. Impact of the availability of texting on stu- 0
dent attendance at office hours. Students in the section Daily Weekly Monthly eer Never
with texting attended office hours more times overall
(checkerboard, left axis) and at a slightly higher per Figure 6. Pre-/post-term comparison of students' interactions
student frequency (boxes, right axis) than students in with any single instructor. Students were asked how frequently
the section without texting (horizontal and vertical they met with their instructor outside of class for any reason.
lines, respectively). Roughly 90% of respondents said monthly or less frequently.

84 Chemical Engineering Education


E 75

M 50



I 3.5




S--- I





o 10

0l Texting
8 Non-texting

* -] Mr

r1 01

1 2-3 4-6 9-11 10-12 13-15 16-18 19-21
# of Emails Sent

Figure 7 a. (left) and b. (right), Impact of the availability of texting on student e-mail communication, a.) Students in
the texting section e-mailed the instructor and TA more times during the semester (checkerboard, left axis) and with a
greater per-student frequency (boxes, right axis) than students in the section without texting (horizontal and vertical
lines, respectively). Standard deviations on the frequencies are not shown for image clarity. Mean standard devia-
tions for the texting and non-texting section frequencies are 2.9 3.8 and 2.0 2.8 e-mails/student, respectively, b.)
Shown are the histograms for the number of students who sent a certain quantity of e-mail messages to the instructor
and TA. The results show that the bias seen in (a) is not simply a result of all of the most prolific e-mail senders being
in the texting section.

Thus, while general attitudes remain unchanged, the attitude
with respect to specific individuals, with whom the students
have established a rapport, improved. As such, it may be that
repeated opportunities to use texting for classroom purposes
may make it less unusual and uncomfortable for students.
Students entering/attending universities today will increas-
ingly have had opportunities to use texting to interact with
their high school teachers and college professors, so attitudes
may be evolving even now. Nonetheless, regarding our first
hypothesis, our results indicate that students currently do not
prefer to text message with their instructors, rather stating that
e-mail and face-to-face contact are still the preferred modes
of contact for professional endeavors.
Examining our second hypothesis, did the availability of
texting, despite its limited use, influence students' behavior
regarding other modes of contact? The students in the texting
section did attend office hours more frequently than students
in the nontexting section (Figure 5), although the increase
was minimal (examine scale of right axis in Figure 5). In
fact, when comparing pre-term and post-term self-reported
likelihood to interact with their professors outside of class,
no increase in self-reported interaction frequency was seen,
either when examined for the class overall (Figure 6) or by
section (data not shown). Unfortunately, disengagement
has been found to be common among engineering students,
worsening with increasing seniority.t13 The availability of
texting does not seem to have improved engagement by the
metrics of increased face-to-face contact at office hours or
self-reported face-to-face meeting frequency.

Yet there may still have been an effect. In comparing the
number and frequency of e-mail messages sent by students in
each of the two sections (Figure 7a), students in the texting
section e-mailed the instructor nearly 50% more frequently
than the students in the nontexting section. It is often the case
that a few students e-mail frequently while many students
rarely do so. We wanted to ensure that it was not simply a situ-
ation where all of the prolific e-mail senders happened to be in
the texting section (Figure 7b). The data show that while the
most prolific sender (20 messages) was in the texting section,
the second most prolific (14 messages) was in the nontexting
section. With both sections of similar size (~40 students) and
generally comparable in demographics, we could not identify
another obvious reason for students from the texting section
to contact the instructor more frequently. Although the result
is not statistically significant (p = 0.20 by t-test comparing
the per student means for each section), it does suggest that
students in the texting section may have perceived a better
rapport with the instructor, a factor known to support learn-
ing,[14] and so were more willing to initiate or sustain some
form of communication with the course instructor.
We attempted to assess whether this sense of enhanced
rapport existed by asking the students if they felt that the
instructor and TA for the course were "cool," leaving it to the
students to define what cool means to them. With regards to
the course instructor and TA, all of the students in both sec-
tions rated them highly, so no difference was seen between the
sections (data not shown). When comparing professors and
TAs in general, however, the texting section rated professors

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

and TAs that use texting as significantly more "cool" than
students in the nontexting section (Figure 8). We believe this
result to be a reflection of a greater sense of rapport between
the students in the texting section with the instructor and TA,
supporting our contention regarding the relatively higher e-
mail contact from the texting-section students.

First, our data strongly suggest that students choose e-mail
and face-to-face contact as their primary modes of commu-
nication, even with other choices available. We do not fully
understand the motivations for these choices, however, espe-
cially in light of the evidence about different communication
modes they use with peers. Second, students do not take full
advantage of opportunities to interact with their instructors,
regardless of the means available to them, potentially lead-
ing to long-term disengagement from their coursework and
impediments to their success.
Further study will be required to confirm if the availability of
text messaging can serve as a means of driving greater rapport
and engagement and establish any downstream relationship to
improved student retention and/or performance. We will contin-
ue to make text messaging available to the students as a means
of communication, as we believe both in the impact made and
that students' attitudes will continue to evolve towards accept-
ing the technology as a means of professional communication.
As with any aspect of course construction, instructors need to
manage it in a way that is practical for them (e.g., use e-mail
to respond to texts, establish guidelines for use).
Absent from our current study was the impact of student-
student interactions on student engagement and perfor-
mance. In particular, what utility do social network sites
have for students with respect to their coursework? Also,
does class size influence the likelihood that students will use
texting? As we go forward, we will also begin to investigate
these and other important questions regarding how best to
engage and teach students in the current age.

We would like to thank the students for their willingness
to participate in this study. We would also like to thank
Joanna Bosse, Robin DeMuth, Deborah DeZure, Dana
Infante, Khadidiatou Ndiaye, Tobias Schoenherr, Cindi
Young, Mark Urban-Lurain, and Nicole Ellison for helpful
discussions about this work. Funding support was provided
by the Lilly Fellowship program at Michigan State Univer-
sity. Portions of this work were previously presented at the
2011 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition and published
in the corresponding Proceedings.

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who text message class information are "cool".

Professors Teaching Assistants

Figure 8. Student attitudes towards professors and TAs who
use textingfor course communication. Students in the texting
section declared professors and TAs who text to be signifi-
cantly more "cool" than did students in the non-texting sec-
tion. Rating scale: 5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3 = neutral,
2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree. Data are reported as the
median the median absolute deviation; non-parametric
statistical analysis by Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon rank sum test;
ranksum function in MATLAB with a significance threshold
of p = 0.05. indicates p = 0.022 (professors) or p = 0.031
(teaching assistants).
Chemical Engineering Education

Random Thoughts...


Education Designs, Inc.
North Carolina State University

The standard way to prepare people for a faculty career is
not to. At most universities, new faculty members go to
a campus-wide orientation workshop to be welcomed
by the Provost and hear about their insurance and retirement
options and the locations and functions of various campus
administrative units, and graduate students learn how to work
on a research project someone else has defined, but that's
about it for academic career preparation. Little or nothing is
generally said to either future or current professors about the
three questions all new faculty members at research universi-
ties have uppermost on their minds: (1) How do I start and
build an effective research program? (2) How do I teach? (3)
How can I manage to do everything I need to do to get tenure
and promotion and still have a life?
This is an absurd state of affairs. Being a tenure-track
faculty member at a research university requires doing
many things graduate school does not routinely teach, such
as how to identify and approach funding sources and write
successful proposals to them, compete with famous and well-
funded faculty colleagues for good graduate students, design
courses and deliver them effectively, write assignments and
exams that are both rigorous and fair, deal with classroom
management and advising problems and cheating, and learn
a campus culture and integrate smoothly into it. Figuring out
all those things on one's own is not trivial, and while there
is something to be said for trial-and-error learning, it's not
efficient. Robert Boice'] studied the career trajectories of new
faculty members and found that roughly 95% of them take
between four and five years to get their research productivity
and teaching effectiveness to levels that meet institutional
standards. A 4-5 year learning curve is long and costly for
universities, which invest as much as a million dollars in each
new faculty hire, and the costs continue to mount for those
faculty members who never manage to become effective at
either research or teaching.

Boice also observed, however, that 5% of new faculty
members meet or exceed their institutions' expectations for
both research and teaching within their first 1-2 years. These
quick starters do several things differently from their col-
leagues, including scheduling regular time for working on
scholarly writing and sticking with the schedule, limiting les-
son preparation time to less than two hours per hour of lecture
(especially after the initial course offering), and networking
with colleagues several hours a week, which helps the new
faculty members transition into their institutional culture and
cultivates advocates among colleagues who will eventually
vote on their promotion and tenure.E11 The problem is that new
faculty members are seldom made aware of those strategies
and other things they should be doing to get their research and
teaching careers off to a good start. In the absence of appropri-
ate orientation and mentoring, most make the same mistakes

Rebecca Brent is an education consultant
specializing in faculty development for ef-
fective university teaching, classroom and
computer-based simulations in teacher
education, and K-12 staff development in
language arts and classroom management.
She codirects the ASEE National Effective
Teaching Institute and has published articles
on a variety of topics including writing in
Undergraduate courses, cooperative leading,
public school reform, and effective university
Richard M. Felder is Hoechst Celanese
Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineer- ,
ing at North Carolina State University. He is
co-author of Elementary Principles of Chemi-
cal Processes (Wiley, 2005) and numerous
articles on chemical process engineering
and engineering and science education,
and regularly presents workshops on ef-
fective college teaching at campuses and
conferences around the world. Many of his
publications can be seen at effectiveteaching>.

@ Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

95% of their colleagues make in their first few years, and the
4-5 year learning curve, tremendous stress and anxiety, and
sometimes failure to earn tenure are the consequences.
As part of its comprehensive faculty development pro-
gram,t21 shortly before the start of the Fall 2000 semester the
N.C. State University College of Engineering (COE) gave a
four-day orientation workshop to its new faculty members,
covering essentially all of the topics mentioned in the second
paragraph of this column. Since 2001 the workshop has been
given jointly to new faculty in the COE and the NCSU College
of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS), and it has
now reached 257 faculty members (171 from COE, 86 from
PAMS). Most participants were concerned about spending
four days at a workshop shortly before the start of their first
semester, but they were assured by their department heads and
faculty colleagues that it would be worth their time. Those
who participated clearly felt that it was: end-of-workshop rat-
ing forms have been completed by 238 attendees, who gave
the program 209 "excellent," 29 "good," and no "average,"
"fair," or "poor" ratings.
Open responses in the post-workshop evaluations include
many positive comments about the following workshop
Practicality. The emphasis in the workshop is on
"just-in-time" information as opposed to the "just-
in-case" material that comprises most new faculty
orientations. Besides tips on starting and building
a research program and designing and delivering
courses, sessions are devoted to dealing with com-
mon headaches in the life of a faculty member,
including difficulty getting proposals and papers
written and accepted; setbacks in research projects
such as equipment breakdowns, unproductive
research assistants, and loss of funding in mid-
project; a wide variety of classroom management
and academic advising problems; and cheating.
Interactivity. While there is some lecturing in the
workshop, a substantial portion of the four days is
occupied with activities. The participants critique
research descriptions, proposals, learning objec-
tives, and examinations; work in bi-disciplinary
pairs to outline a research project that involves the
areas of expertise of both team members[31; and
find resolutions to hypothetical research, teaching,
and advising crises. By the end of the first day the
participants have clearly formed a learning com-
munity that continues to strengthen as the work-
shop progresses.
Relevance to the participants' disciplines. Illus-
trative research and teaching scenarios and a mock
NSF panel review are all STEM-related. In fact,

a comprehensive workshop like this could not be
given to a campus-wide audience, since many of
the things faculty members need to know (espe-
cially where research is concerned) differ signifi-
cantly between STEM and non-STEM disciplines.14
SRelevance to the local campus culture. The par-
ticipants learn about what they really need to do
to succeed at N.C. State, with the message coming
from engineering and science deans and depart-
ment heads, research support staff, and some of
the best STEM researchers and teachers on cam-
pus. Most participants leave the workshop with a
strong sense that their administrators and senior
colleagues are firmly committed to their success.
They know where to go when they need help, and
they feel comfortable asking for it.
To gauge the impact of the workshop, 32 attendees and nine
non-attendees were surveyed three years after they joined
the faculty. Attendees outperformed nonattendees in both
research productivity and teaching evaluations. When asked
to rate their orientation to their new profession, the attendees
gave it an average rating of 4.6/5 and the non-attendees rated
it 3.4/5. The workshop also plays an important role in faculty
recruitment efforts in the two colleges. Candidates have said
that its existence was a major factor in their decision to come
to N.C. State, since none of the other universities they were
considering offered anything comparable.
When we visit other campuses to give teaching seminars we
generally mention the workshop to our hosts, observing that
its benefits to both new faculty members and their institutions
are significant and the total cost of food and facilitators' fees is
in the noise level of most institutional budgets. The overhead
from a single substantial grant that would not have otherwise
been awarded would more than cover the cost, and based on
the feedback we have received, there have been many such
grants. We don't understand why every research university
is not doing something similar for its new faculty members.
Does yours? If not, why not?

1. Boice, R., Advice for New Faculty Members, Needham Heights, MA:
Allyn & Bacon (2000)
2. Brent, R., R.M. Felder, and S.A. Rajala, "Preparing New Faculty
Members to be Successful: ANo-Brainer and Yet a Radical Concept,"
Proceedings, 2006 ASEE Annual Meeting, June 2006.>
3. Ollis, D.F., R.M. Felder, and R. Brent, "Introducing New Engineering
Faculty to Multidisciplinary Research Collaboration," Proceedings,
2002 ASEE Annual Meeting, Montreal, ASEE, June 2002.>
4. Felder, R.M., R. Brent, and MJ. Prince, "Engineering Instructional
Development: Programs, Best Practices, and Recommendations,"
J. Engr. Education, 100(1), 89 (2011). public/Papersllnstruct_Dev(JEEvl00).pdf> 0

Chemical Engineering Education




University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208

n recent decades, there has been a shift in employment Joy Watson is currentpursuing a pos
options for engineers in the United States.(1, 2] For engi- fellowship at the University of South
neers with Ph.D.s, the shift has been from academic to She received her Ph.D. in the Colle
gineering at the University of Souti
non-academic positions. During this time, the focus of doc- in 2011. She obtained her B.S. an
toral research has also shifted from basic research to applied chemical engineering from the
of Tennessee-Knoxville. Before enr
research.[2] In 2006,70% of doctoral recipients in engineering doctoral program, she worked as
did not hold positions in academia. According to National engineer in the pulp and paper ind
Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Science Resources daspatentmark fier aprihea U..
statistics, approximately 55% of engineering Ph.D.s were ests include preparing doctoral sft
employed in the for-profit sector, 30% were in educational careers and the rheology of ionic lie
institutions, 7% were in government, 4% were in private non- Ed Gatzke is
profit institutions, and 4% were self-employed.131 in the Depart
the University
To prepare students for work in the for-profit sector, his undergrad
seminars have been designed at various engineering doctoral 1995 and his
Delaware in 2
programs within the United States in order to develop breadth Career Award,
of technical knowledge and transferable skills (often referred Award theAle,
Researcher F
to as soft skills). For example, some chemical engineering Board Excelle
departments require Ph.D. students to present their research to
fellow graduate students at a seminar. By presenting the doc- Jed Lyons is a professor of mec
engineering and the faculty direct
toral work to their peers, students' oral communication skills Center for Teaching Excellence at
may be further developed.[4,5] Some seminars have been de- versity of South Carolina. A gradua
Georgia Institute of Technology, he
signed to keep students informed of new developments within in the aerospace industry prior to
their field of engineering, thus developing students' breadth an academic career His technical e
of knowledge.[4,61 Other topics discussed in seminars include and background includes material,
facturing processes, and design. (
a critical review of literature, intellectual property, managing his research and scholarship foc
non-human resources, ethics, mentoring, and teaching.t6-01] engineering education, innovation,
fessional development.
Seminars are also used to encourage doctoral students in
Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012
Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

ge of En-
d M.S. in
tearing the
a process
'ustry and
tent and
arch inter-
udents for industry and academic
quids and cellulose solutions.

currently an associate professor
ment of Chemical Engineering at
of South Carolina. He received
uate degree from Georgia Tech in
'h.D. degree from the University of
000. His awards include the NSF
the USC CEC Young Investigator
sander von Humboldt Experienced
fellowship, and the USC Mortar
nce in Teaching Award.

or of the
the Uni-
te of the
s, manu-
uses on
and pro-

their program of study by equipping them with "doctoral
survival skills."6' 11" These survival skills are important be-
cause only 64% of students who begin engineering doctoral
programs complete their degrees within 10 years, accord-
ing to the Council of Graduate Schools.t121 Topics in these
"doctoral survival skills" seminars include how to choose an
advisor, creating a resume, and career options for Ph.D.s, but
they do not discuss the industrial research environmental, 11
Although seminars are offered at several universities, little
research is available that uses a seminar course to present
the industrial research environment to graduate students
and documents students' perspectives on such seminars.
The purpose of this paper is to first present the development
of a non-technical seminar course for engineering doctoral
students and then to discuss how students perceive the value
of this seminar course.

A seminar course was created with the following objectives:
1) to give students a greater understanding of the industrial
research environment, 2) to develop students' awareness
of transferable skills needed in this environment, and 3) to
help students find a position within industry. To simulate an
industrial research environment and encourage class discus-
sion, the seminars were held in a conference room in lieu of
a traditional classroom setting. The course was first offered
on an experimental basis during Summer 2010. The process
to permanently approve the course was initiated in Summer
2011 so that it can be repeated. In Summer 2010, students vol-
untarily enrolled in the course and received a one-credit-hour
pass/fail grade. Class participation and attendance were 60%
of students' final grade, with the remaining portion consisting
of reading assignments and a two-page reflection paper. The
reading assignments included journal articles, book chapters,
and web resources discussing seminar topics. The final as-
signment was a two-page reflection paper asking students

to discuss how a seminar topic of their choice had impacted
them. The students had two weeks to complete this paper.
The instructor for the course held three positions in in-
dustry prior to obtaining his Ph.D. in chemical engineering.
During his industrial experience, he observed that most
engineers in industry not only spend time on technical tasks.
but also on tasks that required transferable skills. These
skills he observed included: communicating with coworkers
to provide or request information; organizing and schedul-
ing projects, collaborating with vendors and customers;
and managing compliance, safety, and regulatory issues.
As a result, he realized that transferable skills are critical
for success in industry. While teaching the course he was
an associate professor in the chemical engineering depart-
ment. He invited several different speakers to the class to
discuss their past and present job responsibilities and skills
in order to help students gain an understanding of the dif-
ferent types of positions available to engineering Ph.D.s.
The topics discussed in the seminar included intellectual
property, managing customer and product requirements,
engineers in business, and career management. A list of the
course topics can be seen in Table 1.
The guest speakers had various combinations of experiences
working in small businesses, large corporations, national labs,
and academia. Several of the speakers were Ph.D. engineers
who were working in industry or had significant industry ex-
perience prior to their current position. The speakers who did
not have their Ph.D. in engineering were selected because of
their unique expertise that would enrich the seminar. Speakers
were encouraged to prepare a 15-20 minute presentation on
their topic and to allow the remaining 30 minutes for ques-
tions and discussions from the students, with an occasional
ice-breaking question from the instructor. Some presenters
prepared an hour lecture while others had a list of topics they
were willing to discuss and allowed students interested in the
listed topics to guide the class discussion.

Topics Discussed in Seminar Course
Topic Discussion Leader
Overview and History of Graduate Research Instructor
Career Services Career Advisor from university's Career Services
Professional Etiquette Instructor and Participant Observer
Intellectual Property Attorney with a B.S. in chemical engineering and M.B.A. currently working for
the university's Intellectual Property Office
Professional Ethics Ph.D. working in industry
Negotiation, International Issues, and Networking Instructor
Who's Really Your Boss? Ph.D. engineer
Managing Customers and Product Requirements Ph.D. engineer from a large corporation
Engineers in Business Engineering professor with extensive industry experience, who is currently pursu-
ing his p.B.A.
Career Management Ph.D. with experience in industry, national labs, and academia

Chemical Engineering Education

Helpfulness of Seminar Topics

Career Services

Career Management

Engineers in Business

Intellectual Property
Managing Customers and Product Requirements

Professional Etiquette
Professional Ethics

Negotiation, International Issues, and Networking

Who's Really Your Boss?

Overview and History of Graduate Research
Not Very
Helpful Helpful
Figure 1. Average response to the question: The topics discussed in ECHE 598Z are listed below. Please
mark the one answer to indicate how helpful this topic is to your career.

Fourteen students voluntarily enrolled in the course. The
majority of students were in chemical or mechanical engineer-
ing doctoral programs. They had been enrolled in graduate
school for various lengths of time. For example, one student
was in her first semester of her graduate studies, while another
student was graduating with her Ph.D. the semester the class
was taught. Female students consisted of 42% of the class,
and underrepresented minority groups made up 21% of the
class. These proportions are higher than the university's
graduate engineering program consisting of 23% female and
10% underrepresented minority groups.

To address the question of how engineering doctoral stu-
dents perceive the value of a non-technical seminar course,
three different methods were used to collect data. The first
data collection method was field notes taken by a participant
observer during each seminar. Before pursuing her Ph.D., the
participant observer had experience working in industry and
in intellectual property. The notes she took included obser-
vations on the speakers' discussion and students' interaction
with the speakers.
The students' two-page reflection paper was the second
method of data collection. The reflection paper asked students
to choose a seminar topic and discuss what they knew about
the topic prior to the seminar, what they learned in the semi-
nar, and how this knowledge might impact their future. As
part of their final assignment, students were also solicited for

suggestions to improve future "Graduate Student as Leader"
seminar course.
The data analysis began by summarizing the field notes of
the participant observer into paragraph form. The seminar
summaries and reflection papers were analyzed to determine
if students believed they had gained an understanding of the
industrial research environment, transferable skills needed
in industry, and information on how to find a position within
The third method of data collection was a survey designed
to assess the helpfulness of each seminar topic. Students were
asked to respond according to the following question:
The topics discussed in ECHE 598Z are listed below. Please
mark the one answer to indicate how helpful this topic is to
your career.
A list of the topics can be seen in Table 1. Students were
given a four-point scale with choices ranging from "Not Help-
ful" to "Very Helpful." The survey results were then averaged.

Rather than provide a detailed description of all the semi-
nars, this paper focuses on the topics that students indicated
were the most helpful topics discussed in the seminar as seen
in Figure 1. These topics were also specifically discussed
by one or more students in their final reflection papers. This
enables one to gain some understanding of the actual student
learning outcomes. The highlighted topics include career ser-
vices, professional etiquette, managing project and customer

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

requirements, and career management. Additional highlighted
seminars include engineers in business, intellectual property,
and ethics. The students did not explicitly discuss why they
felt that the bottom two topics were less helpful. From the
observer's notes it can be inferred that the topics were less
relevant to the purpose of the course when compared to other
topics. Additionally, the topic "Overview and History of
Graduate Research," was presented during the first class in
which the course syllabus was distributed.
Career Services
To aid students in finding a job after completing their
doctoral work, a career advisor from the university's career
center spoke to the class. Prior to the seminar, the instructor
asked the class to review several web pages suggested by the
career advisor. The web pages included topics such as creat-
ing a resume/vita, cover letter, examples of typical interview
questions, a list of illegal questions for employers to ask, and
information on how to negotiate salary. During the class the
speaker discussed the web pages. For example, she mentioned
that interviewers often ask potential employees behavioral
questions. These questions allow potential employees to
give specific instances of past behavior as a means to predict
future behavior. To effectively answer behavioral questions,
the speaker suggested first explaining the situation, and then
the tasks and actions required to accomplish the end result.
One of her concluding remarks was that while interviewing
and after starting work, one should always be aware of actions
and dress, because they reflect upon oneself.
At the end of the semester, two students wrote their reflec-
tive paper on the career services seminar. One student, who
had been in the doctoral program two years, stated that he had
never thought about work after graduate school. After the career
services seminar he began thinking about his career. He real-
ized that he needed clear objectives in order to create a plan to
reach his career goals. In his reflection he did not specifically
mention his career goals. He has, however, set himself several
interim goals that he believes will give him tools to reach his
career goal. His interim goals are: 1) to improve his spoken
English (English was not his first language), 2) to work hard on
his research, and 3) to consider joining student organizations
to enrich his graduate student experience.
The second student was in her first graduate class in the
United States. In her words, the seminar "blew her mind"
because it made her realize the steps she needed to take as a
graduate student to find employment in the United States after
graduation. In her reflection paper, she stated that the career
services seminar had given her strategies to answer tough
interview questions, and motivation to develop professional
networks and to have experiences outside the research lab.
In her reflection paper, the student stated that networking is
vital to a professional career because an opportunity may
come through a friend, teacher, or neighbor. The student also
mentioned that the speaker suggested that students discover

their own strengths and weaknesses while in graduate school
by having new experiences.
The results suggest that the career services seminar helped
students prepare to enter the corporate culture in the United
States. Even though the two students and participant observer
were in the same seminar, the students and participant observer
appeared to place emphasis on different information. Perhaps
the participants heard different messages because they were at
different places within their graduate career. The participant
observer had approximately one year left in her doctoral work.
She focused on the specific interview strategies discussed by
the speaker. The student with some graduate experience began
to think about setting career goals as a result of the career ser-
vices seminar. The less-experienced graduate student gained
an understanding of how to maximize her graduate school
experience to get a job in the United States. It is interesting
that the students focused their reflection papers' discussion on
listing items on their resume/vita, not the skills learned through
these extracurricular activities. The career services seminar
helped students who were early to mid-way in their graduate
career realize that activities outside of the research laboratory
are important to develop their vita while those later in their
graduate career learned about interview strategies.

Professional Etiquette
Both the instructor and the participants in the course pro-
vided content for the professional etiquette seminar. Topics
covered in the seminar included appropriate conversations,
greeting people, dining etiquette, and proper business and
business-casual attire. For example, the instructor suggested
avoiding topics such as politics and religion in the workplace.
He suggested an appropriate topic such as the latest ballgame.
Because different cultures have different styles of shaking
hands, the discussion of how to greet others included instruc-
tion and a brief practice session on giving a firm handshake.
An international student wrote his reflection paper on this
seminar. Prior to this seminar, he did not think etiquette
mattered in the United States. He realized that professional
etiquette is important and can be formal, especially in an
interview. The student admitted that talking with Americans
was difficult for him, but through this seminar he has begun
to develop some talking points, such as discussing the latest
football game.
Data suggests that this seminar gave international students
a better understanding of American professional etiquette and
culture. The student's reflection paper also indicated that the
discussion may help him become more comfortable talking
with Americans in a professional setting. This seminar ap-
peared to be helpful to students who had little to no experience
working in industry in the United States.

Managing Project and Customer Requirements
Engineering Ph.D.s need an expertise in teamwork to be

Chemical Engineering Education

successful in the industrial work environment."13 In order
for students to gain an awareness of these skills, a speaker
from a large corporation discussed managing projects and
customer requirements by using effective teamwork and
communication strategies. For instance, the speaker stated
that he was often the technical expert for the marketing team.
As the marketing team wrote a contract with a customer, it
was the speaker's job to be critical of engineering specifica-
tions because he would be held accountable to the contract
specifications after it had been signed. He advised students
to define explicit expectations when creating requirements
in formal documents. Specifically, he suggested not to use
words such as "similar, maximize, etc." but to make terms
measurable. He also advised students to not allow others to
define how a solution should be developed unless those others
are experts in that area.
One student discussed the project and customer require-
ments seminar. He stated that he wanted to work in industry
upon completing his Ph.D., but he had not known about
project and customer requirements prior to attending this
discussion. He mentioned that he had learned the importance
of communicating effectively with the sales and marketing
teams to ensure that project requirements were designed
to address the specific issue. For example, he learned that
a goal must be able to be measured in order for a design
team to understand the goal. He reflected that words such as
minimized and maximized are too vague for design teams.
The student felt that the speaker had clarified the role that
new Ph.D.s may have within large corporations. He also has
gained clearer ideas of different career ladders for engineer-
ing Ph.D.s from this seminar.
In the managing customers and product requirement semi-
nar, both the participant observer and the graduate student
reflected on the importance of effective communication strate-
gies while developing formal documentation for customers.
This seminar also gave the student a greater understanding of
potential careers that will allow him to make more informed
decisions as he completes his graduate degree and enters the
job market.

Career Management
The purpose of the career management seminar was to
give students some basic advice on how to have successful
careers after completing their Ph.D. The seminar was given
by a guest speaker who had a Ph.D. in physics. She had
worked in national labs, industry, and academia. Most of the
seminar, however, was focused on working in industry. The
seminar included many different techniques to help employ-
ees bring recognition and exposure to themselves. Some of
these techniques include developing professional networks,
finding mentors, and taking an inventory of accomplishments.
Through developing networks and finding mentors, younger
employees may gain exposure within a company as the mentor

becomes the newer employee's advocate. Another technique
she recommended was occasionally creating a list of greatest
professional accomplishments. This technique forces em-
ployees to clearly articulate their accomplishments, helping
them advance their careers. At the end of the class there was
a question-and-answer session with discussion focusing on
resumes and job experience. Several students asked questions
about internships while pursuing their Ph.D.s. Ideas discussed
on pursuing internships include working with students' advi-
sors and talking directly to different companies.
Two students chose to discuss this seminar in detail, and
a third student mentioned in his reflection paper that this
seminar was helpful. One student stated that she enjoyed the
seminar because, as students, they do not learn about career
options in industry because they are focused on school and
research. She explained that she learned to evaluate herself in
terms of what she likes to do, things she is good at, and how
she sees herself. The student enjoyed the speaker's discus-
sion on how to grow professionally and on how employers
evaluate employees.
The second student felt that this topic, along with other
seminars from the Graduate Student as Leader seminar course,
had broadened his career options. Before the seminar course,
his goal was to work in academia. The seminar course gave
him a better understanding of the work environment in indus-
try. Now he believes that a career in industry is an "equally
viable option" for him. The career management seminar gave
him an understanding of opportunities to grow professionally
in industry and the importance of technical knowledge, social
skills, business skills, and communication. The student also
learned about the importance of self-reflection to ensure that
an employee is earning his or her company money.
The results indicate that this seminar gave students a greater
understanding of the work Ph.D.s perform in industry. It also
created an awareness of the importance of transferable skills
and self-reflection. Before this seminar, both students indi-
cated that they were unsure of how to grow professionally,
but this seminar brought some understanding to this issue.
Engineers in Business
The purpose of the engineers in business seminar was to
introduce entrepreneurship and business skills to the stu-
dents. The guest speaker was an engineering professor. The
professor had extensive industry experience and had recently
returned from a two-year sabbatical as an industry consultant.
At the time of the seminar, he was pursuing his master's of
business administration. To begin the seminar, the professor
distributed a list of topics that focused on entrepreneurship
and business that he was prepared to discuss with the class.
This list included topics such as:
Business Activities-financing, investing operations
Corporate Structure-Board ofDirectors, CEO, CFO, COO

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

Financial Statements-balance sheet, income statement,
retained earnings, statement of cash flows
Finance-finance instruments, derivatives, hedging,
indexing and dollar cost averaging
Intellectual Property-patents, copyrights, trademarks
New Ventures-corporate structure, raising capital
He asked students to choose the topics they wanted to dis-
cuss. The topic of new ventures was chosen, which included
corporate structure and financing new ventures. The profes-
sor explained that most of the finance terms he encounters
could be learned in a beginning finance class. The professor
also had some suggestions on how to raise funding for a new
venture company. One method for funding was identifying
"angels" otherwise known as rich people who want to invest in
companies. A second option was a private offering of stocks.
Another option was a venture capitalist. The venture capitalist
option comes with less freedom because the funders often
have stakes in the company's future revenue. A fourth option
was going to the bank with a well-written business plan. The
students appeared to be very interested in this topic and asked
many questions during the seminar.
One student chose to discuss this topic in his reflection
paper. The student wrote that before this discussion, he did
not know how start-up companies were funded. This student
stated that he had learned several different methods of find-
ing funding and a better understanding of the liabilities of
running a business. From this seminar course, the student
confirmed that he did not want to become a professor. The
student also mentioned that he enjoyed the informal nature
of this particular seminar because it was more engaging and
allowed the class to determine the direction of the discussion.
Results indicate that several students were interested in
learning more about how to start a small business. It appeared
that some students may have an entrepreneurial spirit, but they
have not had the time and/or guidance to explore this career
option. This seminar began to answer students' questions on
starting a small business and gave them some understanding
of common business and finance terms.
Intellectual Property
A discussion of intellectual property (IP) was lead by an
attorney from the university's intellectual property office. He
has a background in chemical engineering and completed his
master's of business administration before going to law school.
During the seminar, the basics of patents were introduced, such
as filing disclosures and preliminary patents. Additionally, the
speaker discussed the rules and regulations surrounding patents,
trademarks, and copyright laws on the national and international
stage. The speaker mentioned different business aspects impor-
tant to intellectual property, such as the value patents add to a
company's portfolio and the relationship between branding and
intellectual property. The issue of entrepreneurship and small-
business startups was raised but was not discussed in detail.

One student discussed this seminar in his reflection paper.
Prior to the seminar he stated that his knowledge of IP was
limited. He had not known the complexity and pervasiveness
of IP law. After the seminar, he realized that he had underes-
timated the influence of IP law in the academic and business/
engineering setting. An example he gave was that academia is
influenced by IP law during the publication process. While the
information published remains the authors' intellectual prop-
erty, the presentation of the information and any illustrations
become property of the publishing company. The student also
stated that the guest speaker had emphasized that industrial
employers often insist on retaining all rights to employees'
intellectual property while employed with the company and
for some time afterwards. He also felt that in order to be suc-
cessful, he needed some basic knowledge of IP law.
Students appeared to be interested in IP since the discussion
lasted 15 minutes over the allotted time. From the reflective
paper, results indicated that students were not aware of the
complexity of IP law. After the seminar, the importance and
influence IP has in a business setting and academic setting
was clearer to the student. The student now has a better
understanding of the basics of IP law that, regardless of his
career path, is essential to his success.
An ethics seminar was given by a local Ph.D. chemist.
She discussed issues such as plagiarism, data fabrication,
and the importance of understanding workplace policies.
For example, she stated that very few people would write a
journal article without citing others appropriately, yet it is
common, but not correct practice, to present information to
a group without citing appropriate sources. Another example
she gave was who pays for a business dinner. Depending
on the situation, it may be a business expense or a personal
expense, one person may pay for everyone's meal or each
person may pay individually. Other topics mentioned, but
not discussed in detail included dating in the workplace and
taking work home. In her concluding remarks, she cautioned
students to keep e-mail and comments on social networking
sites professional or private.
One student chose to discuss the ethics seminar in his final
reflection paper. As an undergraduate student, he knew ethics
was important, but he was never able to fit an ethics class into
his schedule. Before the class discussion, he thought ethics
was a set of rules that had to be followed. He stated that he had
learned in the ethics seminar that it included avoiding conflicts
of interest and ensuring the safety of others. Additionally, the
student gained an awareness of "gray" areas in ethics, such
as dilemmas that may save the company money, but threaten
public safety or may not be entirely legal. He stated that he
was interested in taking an ethics course that included case
studies with multiple approaches and open-ended questions.
He also felt an ethics course should include how other cultures
deal with the same ethical questions.
Chemical Engineering Education

From the ethics seminar, results indicated that students
gained an understanding of the breadth of ethical concerns that
engineering Ph.D.s may encounter. Ethical dilemmas are often
gray areas. The seminar helped students understand that ethi-
cal decisions include more than just following a list of rules.

Overall, students gained a better understanding of the op-
portunities that come from possessing a Ph.D. in engineering.
The students felt that they now know how to maximize the
various opportunities that graduate school offers to find a
position once they graduate. The degree of student interaction
with the speaker was an indicator of the class's interest in a
particular subject, as noted by the participant observer. It is
also noteworthy that the most helpful topics for students in
this seminar course were similar to topics students considered
the most important in a similar seminar series at Oklahoma
State University discussed by Madihally.161
Like any study, this one has limitations. The study was a
qualitative study. The number of participants was kept small
to enhance class discussions. One drawback of the limited
number of participants was that demographic information was
not collected in order to protect the anonymity of participants.
The purpose of this study was not to generate generalizable
results, but to provide information to aid the future develop-
ment of non-technical seminar courses.
The course instructor was satisfied with the overall format
of the course. For future seminar courses, he would consider
adding additional assignments, as students were often very
passive. The challenge will be balancing the ability of ad-
ditional assignments to better engage the students in class
discussions with the consideration that workload not exceed
the time available to the students. In recruiting students to the
course, some faculty members voiced their concern about the
course detracting from students' research during the summer
semester. Unfortunately, some faculty members did not allow
their students to enroll in the course.
There are several suggestions for others in planning a
similar seminar course. One suggestion is to allow students
to control more of the class discussion. This suggestion would
help prevent significant overlap between guest speakers. Each
class could begin with the guest lecturer distributing a list
of topics he or she is prepared to discuss with the class. The
class can then choose the specific topic(s) of the discussion
that interest them or that they have not previously discussed.
Other suggestions for future seminars include information
on how to pursue internships, preparing for an academic
career, and a basic business course. Students were interested
in internships as graduate students, but there was little or no
guidance on how to pursue this endeavor. Another seminar
course could be developed introducing the topics covered
Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

The purpose of this study was not to

generate generalizable results,

but to provide information to aid

the future development of

non-technical seminar courses.

in a master's of business administration program in order to
give students some foundation in business, but without the
time commitment. Management skills were one of the most
helpful topics in this study, and students rated that as one of
the most interesting topics in a similar seminar course.161 Ad-
ditionally, similar seminar courses could include a discussion
on the skills needed for an academic career, such as teaching.
It is worth noting that in Madihally's study of a seminar that
included teaching pedagogy and management skills, students
did not find teaching topics interesting and did not consider
them as important as management skills. These opinions may
influence the sustainability of these seminar topics.J6]

A seminar course was developed to help engineering gradu-
ate students have an awareness of skills needed for careers
in industry. Students' reflective papers and the participant
observer's summaries suggested that the seminars accom-
plished this goal. The seminars on preparing for a career
included discussions on resumes, cover letters, interviewing,
and etiquette. The industrial work environment seminars
entailed topics such as project and customer requirements,
engineers in business, and career management. Topics such
as intellectual property law and ethics were also discussed
in the seminar course. By exposing students to this range
of topics in a seminar setting, they gain more awareness of
career options and the skills needed in an industrial research
environment, thus students can make better decisions to help
prepare them for careers in industry.

This material is based upon work supported b% the National
Science Foundation under Grant No. 0935039.

1. Cussler,E.L., "ADifferent Chemical Industry," Chem. Eng. Ed..40(2).
2. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientist and Engineers. Wash-
ington, D.C.: National Academy Press (1995)
3. National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics.
2009. Characteristics of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in the United
States: 2006. Detailed Statistical Tables NSF 09-317. Arlington, VA.

, accessed 24 January 2011
4. Georgia Institute of Technology School of Chemical & Biomolecular
Engineering Graduate Handbook handbook/GradHandbook09.pdf>, accessed 27 March 2010
5. University of Delaware Chemical Engineering Future Students Ph.D.
Program, , accessed 26
March 2010
6. Madihally, S., "Reviving Graduate Seminar Series Through Non-
technical Presentations," Chem. Eng. Ed., 45(4), 231 (2011)
7. University of Southern California-Viterbi Ming Hsieh Department of
Electrical Engineering: EE Student's 'Practical Guide' Seminar Series,
, accessed 9
May 2010
8. Princeton University: Keller Center Educating Leaders for Technology
Driven Society, news/coming-events-recent-news.html>, accessed 11 May 2010

9. Caregie Mellon Graduate Support Programs: Past Professional De-
velopment Seminars, grams/past- seminars.php?&PHPSESSID=la64259555e5098ff0eb87
5a0ac5e335>, accessed 9 May 2010
10. Minerick, A.R., "Journal Club: A Forum to Encourage Graduate and
Undergraduate Research Students to Critically Review the Literature,"
Chem. Eng. Ed., 45(1), 73 (2011)
11. Holles, J.H., "A Graduate Course in Theory and Methods of Research,"
Chem. Eng. Ed., 41(4), 226 (2007)
12. Boulder, J.,"A Study of Doctoral Students'Perceptions of the Doctoral
Support and Services Offered by Their Academic Instiutions," Doctor
of Philosophy, Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce
Development, Mississippi State University, 2010
13. Watson, J., and J. Lyons, "A Survey of Essential Skills for Ph.D. Engi-
neers in Industry," presented at the American Society for Engineering
Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, British
Columbia, 2011 0

Chemical Engineering Education

= laboratory
-- .________________



Rowan University Glassboro, NJ 08028-1701

Drug delivery is a burgeoning field that represents
one of the major research and development efforts
of the pharmaceutical industry today, with new
drug delivery system sales exceeding $10 billion per year.t11
Chemical engineers play an important and expanding role
in this exciting and inherently multidisciplinary field, which
combines knowledge from medicine, pharmaceutical sci-
ences, chemistry, and engineering.
Controlled drug delivery systems are engineered to deliver a
drug to the body at a predetermined rate for an extended time.
Controlled-release systems have expanded from traditional
drugs to therapeutic peptides, vaccines, hormones, and viral
vectors for gene therapy. These systems employ a variety
of rate-controlling mechanisms, including matrix diffusion,
membrane diffusion, biodegradation, and osmosis.[2].To design
a drug delivery system, an engineer must fully understand the
drug and material properties, the mass transfer mechanisms,
and the processing variables that affect the release of the drug
from the system.
While the role of the chemical engineer is vital to the
development of new drug-delivery systems, undergraduate
chemical engineering students are rarely exposed to drug
delivery through their coursework. This paper describes an
experiment that introduces students to drug delivery system
design, formulation, and analysis from an engineering point
of view. Students produce drug-loaded calcium alginate beads,
obtain release data, and analyze the rate of release from the
beads. They investigate effects of drug molecular weight,
extent of polymer cross-linking, geometry and surface area,
and external mass transfer resistance on the release rate of
the drug. Using Excel and Polymath, students compare their
results to a mathematical model in order to determine the
rate-controlling mechanism of the release. Through this ex-

periment students explore many concepts and tools that they
will use throughout their engineering careers:
Application of chemical engineering principles (transport,
materials, thermodynamics, mass balances)
Instrument calibration
Concentration measurement
Design of experiments
Use of spreadsheets for calculating and graphing
Data analysis and parameter evaluation
Design of drug delivery systems
This experiment has been implemented in the Freshman

Stephanie Farrell is an associate professor
of chemical engineering at Rowan University.
She received her Ph.D. in chemical engineer-
ing from New Jersey Institute of Technology in
1996 and worked for two years on the faculty
at Louisiana Tech University before joining
ChE Rowan. Through her work in chemical
tributions in the development of innovative
laboratory experiments and curricular mate-
rials related to pharmaceutical engineering,
drug delivery, and biomedical topics.
Jennifer Vernengo is an assistant professor
of chemical engineering at Rowan University.
Jennifer received her Ph.D. from Drexel Uni-
versity in 2007 She began work as a materi-
als scientist at Synthes Biomaterials, and then
joined Drexel University College of Medicine
as a post-doc in 2009. Jennifer's research
is in the area of injectable biomaterials for
orthopedic tissue replacement and repair.
She is particularly interested in developing
innovative approaches to biomedical engi-
neering education.

Copyright ChE Division ofASEE 2012

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

Engineering Clinic at Rowan University, and its impact on stu-
dent learning has been evaluated. While this paper describes
the details of a freshman-level experiment, it may easily be
adapted to more advanced courses such as mass transfer or a
bioengineering/drug delivery elective course.

Drug Delivery
A conventional drug such as a tablet would be taken peri-
odically, resulting in cyclical periods of ineffectiveness, ef-
fectiveness, and possibly toxicity.E3' Sustained-release delivery
forms are designed to release a drug at a predetermined rate
by maintaining a therapeutic drug level for a specific period
of time. With targeted drug delivery, the drug is delivered to
a desired type of cell or location in the body, while avoiding
systemic administration that could harm other types of cells
that are not the desired target. Some advantages of controlled-
release delivery systems include the reproducibility of the
release rate, less frequent required administration, decreased
side effects, smaller quantity of drug needed, and improved
patient compliance.
The most common methods of drug administration are by
ingestion and injection. In recent years, several other routes
of administration have been explored, including pulmonary
(through the lung), transdermal (though the skin), and trans-
mucosal (through a mucous membrane).[4]
Topics related to drug delivery are scarce in the chemical
engineering educational literature. Farrell and Hesketh15s pre-
sented a drug-delivery experiment using a dissolving matrix.
Prausnitz and BommariusE61 describe an undergraduate and
graduate course on pharmaceutics that includes topics in drug
delivery. Simon, et al.,"7 developed continuous stirred tank
experiments to introduce topics ofpharmacokinetics and drug
transport to chemical engineering students.Areview of chemi-
cal engineering course websites reveals that drug delivery is
a topic included with increasing frequency in bioengineering
elective courses at universities across the country.

Microsphere Drug Delivery Systems
Microsphere drug delivery systems are microscopic beads
that comprise a polymer matrix that contains a drug. The
polymer may be in the form of a solid bead throughout which
the drug is dissolved or dispersed, or the drug may be encap-
sulated within a polymeric shell. Polymer microspheres have
been used in controlled release and drug targeting to organs
such as the liver, spleen, lung, and kidney.18' Microspheres
made from biocompatible natural and synthetic polymers can
be used as drug-delivery systems for administration by injec-
tion, intramuscular, and through the nasal route. Microspheres
can easily be modified and are compatible with many drugs,
allowing them to be easily developed to contain a desirable
drug. Moreover, the size of microspheres is easily controllable
by modification of the preparation method.

Mass Transfer
The rate of release of a drug from a polymeric device can
be controlled by Fickian diffusion through the polymer,1101
by external mass transfer resistance, or by polymer relax-
ation in the case of a swellable polymer.1]' In some cases,
polymer degradation or erosion can also contribute to the
rate control. The rate of diffusion depends on the molecular
weight of the drug molecule and the cross-linking density
of the microspheres.[4] A large molecule or a high degree
of polymer cross-linking will result in slower diffusion. A
high stirring rate is usually used in in vitro experiments to
eliminate boundary-layer resistance and to simplify mass
transfer analysis.
Ritger and Peppas present a simple model for drug release
from a polymer that can be used to identify the mechanism
of rate control.1101

Mt -F=kt" (1)

Where Mt is the mass of drug released at time t, M. is the
mass of drug released after infinite time, F is the fraction
released, k is a constant that depends on the diffusion coef-
ficient and diffusion length, and n is an exponent which is
indicative of the rate control mechanism. For Fickian diffu-
sion in a slab, n = 0.5; for Fickian diffusion in a sphere, n =
0.43. This short-time approximation is valid for Mt/M, 0.6.
A non-uniform particle size distribution results in a value of
n<0.43; smaller beads cause an acceleration of drug release
at early times, whereas larger beads cause a retardation of
transport at later times.[10
When the polymer is swellable, diffusion and/or polymer
relaxation may govern the release rate.111'12] For relaxation
control, n = 1.0 for a slab and 0.85 for a sphere. When n lies
between the values for Fickian diffusion and relaxation con-
trol, both diffusion and relaxation contribute to rate control.
The normalized release rate, -- can be found by dif-
ferentiating Eq. (1): dt

= knt"-1 (2)

Alginate (or alginic acid) is a biopolymer derived from the
cell walls of brown algae. Its sodium salt forms a viscous
gum when dissolved in water. Calcium alginate, an insoluble
hydrogel formed by ionic cross-linking with calcium ions
in solution, is nontoxic and biocompatible, and has wide
applications in cell immobilization and drug encapsulation,
for drug delivery via different routes of administration. In
clinical trials, an oral alginate-antacid formulation has been
used in humans for the effective treatment of GERD,1131 and
an alginate-based drink formulation has produced a robust
Chemical Engineering Education

reduction in hunger to battle obesity.'143 Chitosan-treated
alginate beads have been used for oral delivery of the drug
Metronidazole for the treatment of H. pylori and resulted in
100% clearance of the infection in mice stomachs.E"I Oral
delivery of the anti-diabetic drug gliclazide from alginate
beads resulted in a significantly greater and more prolonged
hypoglycemic effect over the conventional gliclazide tablet
(Gliclazide) in vivo in diabetic rabbits."16 Alginate beads
have been used for sustained delivery of vascular endothelial
growth factor from alginate beads in vitro for vascular tissue
engineering and wound healing applications.[17] Alginate im-
plants have been used for delivery of the growth factor TGF-3
for the improved repair of articular cartilage in rabbits.[181
Cells encapsulated in alginate have been used to deliver
recombinant proteins to malignant brain tumors in rats.[19]
An important property of alginate is its ability to form gels
by ionic cross-linking with divalent calcium ions. When so-
dium alginate solution is combined with calcium chloride in
aqueous solution, ionic cross-linking of alginate chains occurs
instantaneously. This cross-linking results in a matrix at the
interface between the two solutions.[4] When drops of alginate
solution are added to the calcium chloride, ionic cross-linking
occurs at a spherical interface resulting in a polymer shell that
encapsulates a solution of drug in alginate.

In this experiment, students produce drug-containing al-
ginate spheres and investigate the factors that affect the rate
of release of the drug from the polymeric beads. The model
drug used in this experiment is tartrazine, a yellow food dye.
Drug-release studies are performed by placing the drug-
loaded beads in a beaker containing water and monitoring
concentration as a function of time. Concentration measure-
ments are made periodically by measuring absorbance of the
surrounding solution (into which dye has been released) using
a spectrophotometer. The release rate of the drug from the
microspheres is analyzed using Excel. Through comparison to
the mathematical model, the mechanism of rate control can be
identified. Students investigate the effect of stir rate, surface
area, cross-linking, and molecular weight on the release rate
of the drug and the mechanism of rate control. Expected skills
and measurable outcomes are summarized in Table 2 in the
Evaluation section.

Microsphere Preparation
10 mL tartrazine (model drug, Acros Organics) solution
(0.5 mg/mL), in small vial
0.1 g alginic acid, sodium salt (Acros Organics)
6 wt% calcium chloride solution (80 mL in 1 large weigh

Disposable syringe (without needle)
Magnetic stir rod, small
Magnetic stir plate
Vacuum filtration set-up
1. The alginate powder was added to the tartrazine solution
in the small vial.
2. This was stirred vigorously until a smooth, uniform yellow
solution was formed.
3. 3 mL of the alginate solution was loaded into the disposable
syringe by immersing the tip of the syringe in the alginate
solution and pulling up on the plunger.
4. The alginate was slowly dispensed into the weigh boat
containing calcium chloride solution. By pushing very
gently on the plunger, alginate solution was dispensed drop-
wise generating beads of alginate solution that solidify
instantaneously on contact with calcium chloride solution.
Drops falling on top of other drops should be avoided. This
method produces approximately 70-100 beads in about 60s,
depending on the rate at which the plunger is depressed.
5. The beads were immediately separated from the calcium
chloride solution by filtration.

Measurement of Dye Release
150 mL beaker
100 mLDIwater
Disposable pipette (2 mL) or disposable dropper
Stir plate and magnetic stir rod
Spectronic 21 spectrophotometer (Thermo Spectronic,
Rochester, NY)
Disposable cuvettes (Fisher Scientific)
Dye-loaded alginate beads

1. A 150 mL beaker was filled with 100 mL of deionized
2. Alginate beads were transferred into the beaker filled with
deionized water.
3. The beaker was stirred at 300 rpm using a magnetic stir bar.
4. Samples were removed with a pipette, and the absorbance
was measured on a spectrophotometer at 427 nm every 10
minutes for 60 minutes total. Care was taken to ensure that
beads were not withdrawn with the sample.
5. The measured sample was returned to the beaker to main-
tain constant volume.

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

Figures 1. The experimental setup for beads and blob
geometries. The beads (a., above) are simply placed in a
beaker with a stir bar and become suspended when stir-
ring commences. The blob (b., right) requires protection
from the stir bar and is therefore encased in a tea infuser.

Variations on this experiment were the following:
* Extent of cross-linking: Rather than removing the beads
immediately on contact with calcium chloride, the beads
were removed after 10 minutes contact. Alternately, they
may be contacted with CaCl2 for the duration of the release
Large molecule release: Bovine Serum Albumin (Fisher
Bioreagents, Fraction V, approximate MW 66776 Da) was
used instead of tartrazine (MW 534.4 Da). BSArelease was
quantified with a Micro BCA Protein Assay Kit (Pierce)
per the manufacturer's instructions.
Geometry/surface area: Instead of making beads, alginate
solution was quickly dispensed from the syringe to form a
solid mass of undefined geometry (referred to as a "blob")
External mass transfer resistance: studies were performed
using stir rates ranging from 100 400 rpm.
The experimental setups for bead and blob experiments are
shown Figures 1. The beads become suspended when stir rate
increases, and are therefore not disturbed by a stir bar. The
blob requires protection from the stir bar and was therefore
suspended using a tea infuser.

Analysis of Results
After the experiment was completed, the students used an
Excel spreadsheet for data analysis. The students converted
the recorded absorbance measurements into concentration
values using the provided equation from the calibration curve
given in Figure 2. Calibration data are provided with the lab
instructions. Students are guided toward using only the linear
portion of the calibration data; when this range is exceeded,
an increase in concentration will not result in a proportional
increase in absorbance. From the absorbance measurement for
the calcium chloride filtrate, the concentration of tartrazine is

calculated and the mass of tartrazine in solution is determined.
The amount of dye remaining in the beads at the beginning
of the experiment is determined by mass balance.
Students set up an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the follow-
ing quantities at each sample time: Concentration of tartrazine
in solution (C), mass of tartrazine released (M,), and fraction
of tartrazine released (F). The concentration is determined
from the calibration equation:
C = 0.0231A (3)

The mass of dye released is determined from the concentration
and volume (V) measurements.
Mt =CV (4)

Infinite time is considered to be when the absorbance does
not change for three consecutive measurements over at least
30 minutes. After "infinite time" the drug concentration in
the water is less than 0.01% of the saturation concentra-
tion, and some drug will always remain in the beads at
After converting the measured absorbance values to fraction
of dye released, the students create a plot showing the fraction
of dye released over the time of the experiment. Students are
asked to predict how different factors would affect the release
rate: polymer properties such as cross-link density, the drug
molecule size, stirring rate, bead size, temperature, etc. Many
of these factors were investigated experimentally by teams
using shared data.
According to Eq. (1), a plot of the log of fraction released vs.
log of time will result in a straight line with a slope of n. The
value of n is used to identify the rate controlling mechanism
as explained above. The release rate is calculated from Eq.
(2) and plotted as a function of time.
Chemical Engineering Education

Figure 2. Calibration curve for tartrazine at 427 nm.

Effect of Stir Rate
If a mass transfer boundary
layer exists, an increase in stir
rate will result in faster drug
release. Figure 3 shows the
release profile for experiments
conducted at 100, 300, and
400 rpm. Since an increase in
stir rate from 100 to 300 rpm
results in faster release, we
may conclude that external
mass transfer was significant
at the lower stir speed. In-
creasing the stir speed to 400
rpm did not affect the release
rate, so it was concluded that
external mass transfer resis-
tance was insignificant at 300
rpm. For subsequent experi-
ments a stir speed of 300 rpm
was used in order to study rate
control within the beads.







0.000 A


S100 RPM
U A 300 RPM
400 RPM

10 20 30 40 50

Time (min)

Figure 3. Release profiles using different stir speeds. The external mass transfer resistance
is significant at 100 rpm. At 300 and 400 rpm, the external mass transfer resistance is

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012


Effect of Surface Area
Another parameter that affects drug release is the surface area of
the hydrogel with respect to its volume.The effect of surface area-
to-volume ratio can be analyzed by conducting release studies on
hydrogel beads along with larger non-spherical hydrogel "blobs."
Figure 4 shows sample results for bead and blob hydrogels release

study at 300 rpm. The decreased surface-area-to-volume ratio of
the blob results in slower release. The blob continues to release
drug for about 130 minutes, while the bead releases drug for
only 30 minutes. Figures 5 are photographs of a blob and beads
prior to experiment. The bead diameter is approximately 4 mm,
while the blob spans about 3 cm in width.


0.4 A
0.4 *Blob 0 Beads


Time (min)

Figure 4. Release profiles for beads and blob geometries. The decreased surface-area-to-volume ratio of the blob results
in a slower release rate.

Figures 5. Alginate beads (a., left) and an alginate blob (b., right), prior to experiment. The bead diameter is approxi-
mately 4 mm, while the blob spans about 3 cm in width.

Chemical Engineering Education

1 -11

Effect of Cross-Linking

The formation of the hydrogel beads is a direct result of
the cross-linking that occurs when alginate is contacted
with calcium chloride. By changing the time for which the
alginate beads are contacted with the calcium chloride, the
effect of cross-linking can be explored. A longer contact
time results in more penetration of the calcium ions into the
alginate bead and the formation of a thicker cross-linked
shell surrounding drug in alginate solution. This can be
investigated in an experiment in which CaC12 was the re-
lease medium for the duration of release. The results can be
compared to those from the control experiment, where the
beads are removed within 80s after the first bead was formed.
The higher degree of cross-linking (thicker cross-linked
shell) results in a slightly slower release of dye as shown in
Figure 6. In another experiment, a 10 minute cross-linking
time was used. There was no statistical difference between
the 10 minute cross-linking time run and the CaCl2 release








medium run. Cross sections of beads produced by 2 minute
and 10 minute contact times in calcium chloride are shown
in Figures 7 (next page). The beads that were cross-linked
for only 2 minutes show a distinct cross-linked shell and
alginate core region, while the beads cross-linked for 10
minutes are cross-linked through the entire bead. The bead
produced using a 2 minute contact time has an elongated
shape because it was slightly deformed when it was cut.
Molecular Weight
The effect of the molecular weight of the drug on the re-
lease rate is shown in Figure 8 (next page). The larger BSA
molecules (MW=66776 Da ) diffuse through the polymer
more slowly resulting in a slower rate of release of BSA in
comparison to tartrazine (MW = 534.4 Da). While the release
of tartrazine was near complete within 30 minutes, BSA
release continued for over 24 hours. After 30 minutes, the
fraction of tartrazine released was 0.992, and the fraction of
BSA released was 0.389.

Time (min)

Figure 6. Longer contact between alginate and calcium chloride results in a thicker cross-linked shell that slows the
release rate of the drug. Profiles are shown for beads using 80s and 10 min contact time with CaCI,.

f 8 i f


80 s x-link Release into CaC12

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012


Mechanism of Rate Control

Figure 9 shows a plot of In(F) (for F < 0.6) vs. In(t) for two
experiments using beads: an 80s contact time and a CaCl2
contact time for the duration of the release (both with a stir
speed of 300 rpm). The slope is equal to the value of n. For
the case of short contact time, the value of n is equal to 0.33.
Since this is less than n=0.43, the value expected for Fick-

Figures 7. The effect of CaCI, contact time on the thickness of
shell of alginate beads. The bead on the left (a.) was cross-linke
CaC1, and shows a distinct shell and core region. The bead on
cross-linked for 10 min and shows that the cross-linked region
the bead.








ian diffusion control, the data suggest that the rate control
could be Fickian with an effect of non-uniform particle size
distribution. For the longer contact time, the larger value of
n (n=0.4749 > 0.43) indicates that the effect of swelling is
present.Again, the effect of non-uniform particle size is prob-
ably significant. To confirm these conclusions, the effect of
particle size distribution should be eliminated. This was done
outside of class by conducting experiments using single beads.
For a single bead and short contact time
(80s), the value of n is equal to 0.4379,
which confirms that Fickian diffusion is
the rate controlling mechanism. For a
single bead and a long contact time, the
value of n was equal to 0.6813. Since
this value is greater than n=0.43, it is
concluded that swelling has an effect on
the release rate. This is due to the thicker
cross-linked shell in which swelling is
significant. These beads were seen to
double in diameter over the course of
the cross-linked the experiment.

d for 2 minutes in
the right (b.) was
extends through

Once the value of n has been deter-
mined, the rate of release can be found
using Eq. (2). Figure 10 (page 106)

10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Time (min)

Figure 8. The effect of molecular weight on release profile. The release of BSA is slower than the release of tartrazine.
After 30 min, F = 0.389 for BSA and F=0.992 for tartrazine.
)4 Chemical Engineering Education

shows a comparison of release rates for the short contact time
(Fickian diffusion control) and long contact time (swelling

To evaluate the impact of this experiment on student learn-
ing, a quiz was administered to students before and after the
lab. The quiz comprised 15 questions (12 multiple-choice, two
choice-between-two-options, and one explanation) that were
mapped to course and lab objectives and ABET objectives.
An example of a multiple-choice question is:
The diffusion rate is directly proportional to
a) Equilibrium
b) pH
c) Molecular weight
d) The magnitude of the concentration gradient
The quiz questions covered topics of diffusion, hydrogels
and cross-linking, surface area, material properties, release
kinetics, release mechanism, and drug-delivery design. The

questions were designed to evaluate whether the experiment
was effective in introducing basic principles of drug delivery;
reinforcing concepts of science, math, and engineering; and
teaching skills of data analysis and representation. A sum-
mary of the quiz questions is provided in Table 1 (page 107)
in which multiple-choice questions are presented as correct
statements for brevity.
Questions were mapped to Rowan Engineering Clinic II
course objectives and ABET outcomes as shown in Table
2 (page 108). The Table also shows the measurable skills
that are associated with each outcome. Figure 11 (page 108)
shows the average score on the pre-test was 56%22% for
n=14 students, and the average score on the post-test was
82%9.9% for n=15 students.
For each outcome, the percentage of correct responses in-
creased between 13-24% between the pretest and the post-test.
The highest percentage of correct responses for both the pre-
and post-tests was for outcome ABET C; students showed the
lowest percentage increase for this outcome most likely because
the pretest scores were so high. The lowest performance was


-0.20 80s x-link

Release into CaCI2
-- Linear(Release into CaCl2)



Figure 9. Evaluation of rate controlling mechanism. The value of the slope is equal to the exponent n in Eq. (1). Longer
cross-linking time results in the formation of a thicker shell in which swelling is significant over the course of the experi-
ment. The shorter cross-linking time results in a thin shell and Fickian diffusion as the rate-controlling mechanism.

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012 10i

Figure 10. Release rate as a function of time for short and long exposures to CaCI,. The longer cross-linking time results
in a thicker cross-linked region in the bead and slower release.

for objective Rowan 2 for both the pre- and post-tests, in which
percentage of correct responses increased from 40% to 64%.
Students showed high gains in this area, however. Figure 12
(page 109) shows the pre- and post-test results for Rowan and
ABET objectives.

A simple and cost-effective experiment has been developed
to introduce students to drug delivery using alginate beads. The
experiment was implemented in a multidisciplinary Freshman
Engineering course at Rowan University. Students explore
the effects of stir rate, extent of cross-linking, drug molecular
weight, and geometry on the release rate and mechanism of
drug release from the system. The analysis of experimental data
introduces students to mass balances, spreadsheet calculations,
data representation, and mathematical modeling.

Students showed significant gains in several areas: the science
and art of design by evaluating the work of practicing engineers;
new science principles such as mass balances, transport, materi-
als and thermodynamics; application of knowledge of science,
math, and engineering; the ability to design and conduct experi-
ments and analyze and interpret data; and the ability to design
a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within
realistic constraints. The gains for each objective between the
pre- and post-test ranged from 13-24%.

This project is funded by grants from the National Science
Foundation, ECC 0540855 and DUE 0126902. The authors
acknowledge the assistance of Rowan undergraduate students
Ashley Baxter- Baines, Caitlin Dillard, and Christina Tortu
in testing the experimental procedure.

Chemical Engineering Education

Pre- and Post-module questions presented as correct statements.
The bold font indicates the choice that correctly completes each statement.

Question Correct Statement

1 The movement of molecules from a region of high concentration to one of low concentration is called Diffusion

2 The diffusion rate is directly proportional to the magnitude of the concentration gradient
3 Diffusion results in an increase in system entropy
4 Hydrogels are three-dimensional networks of water-loving polymers
5 In polymers, a cross-link is a covalent, ionic, and physical connection that bonds one polymer chain to another, forming
a "net" of polymer chains.
6 Cross-links make a polymer material insoluble in a solvent
7 Drugs can be loaded into hydrogels, and they will be subsequently released from the polymer by a process called diffusion.
8 What is meant by the phrase, "The hydrogel is permeable to the flow of solute?" A solid is dissolved inside the water that
is absorbed by the hydrogel. The solute can diffuse through the hydrogel with little resistance.
9 What is meant by surface area to volume ratio? The area of the outer surface of an object per unit volume of the object.
10 Someone hands you an object and asks you to describe its material properties. What is meant by material properties? All of
the above (color, electrical conductivity, hardness, surface roughness).
11 The total US healthcare expenditures on biomaterials in 2000 totaled $1,400,000,000,000. As you can see, the need for
engineers who design these materials is quite large. What is an example of a constraint that biomedical engineers have to
take into account while designing materials that are to be implanted into patients? (Correct answers include nontoxic,
biocompatible, biodegradable or nonbiodegradable depending on application, functional constraints such as
compatibility with drug in delivery system, desired properties in physiological conditions)
12 Which of the following statements is true? Diffusion rate of a drug through a hydrogel is inversely proportion to the
molecular weight of the drug.
13 Which curve represents a drug delivery system with a faster release rate?



14 Which of the below systems have higher surface area to volume ratios?

Sphere, total Many smaller spheres,
volume 4 cm3 with volume totaling 4 cm

15 In which of the following scenarios does the hydrogel network have a higher permeability to the dissolved drug? (The
scenario on the left. Smaller molecules result in higher permeability)

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012


90% T









Pre-test Post-test

Figure 11. Average pre- and post-test scores for the alginate drug delivery module. For the pretest, n=14 students.
For the post test, n=15 students.

Pre- and post-module assessment questions alignment to: ABET standards for undergraduate chemical engineering students
and Rowan University Engineering Clinic II objectives
Outcome Measurable skills categorized within this outcome: Pre- and post-test
Introduce students to the science and art of To identify how hydrogel-based drug delivery systems work; how to 1,2,7,8,9,12,
design by evaluating the work of practicing measure drug release; connect engineering principles to the design of 13,14,15
designers (Rowan 1) these systems
Introduce multidisciplinary teams of Identify variables that drive mass transfer; use structure-property in 2,5, 6,7, 8, 12,
engineers to science principles such as mass hydrogels to predict mass transfer behavior 14, 15
balances, transport, materials, thermody-
namics (Rowan 2)
An ability to apply knowledge of mathemat- Successfully apply fundamental concepts of chemistry, material 1-8, 12-15
ics, science, and engineering (ABET-A) science, and transport phenomena to biomaterial science and drug
delivery systems
An ability to design and conduct experi- Experience with the preparation and characterization of a drug 3,9, 12,13, 14, 15
ments, as well as to analyze and interpret delivery system will give the ability to identify key variables, analyze
data (ABET-B) data, and evaluate its significance
An ability to design a system, component, Students will identify scientific, safety, and economic constraints 11
or process to meet desired needs within relevant to biomaterials, successfully apply them to the design and
realistic constraints (ABET-C) characterization of polymeric drug delivery system

Chemical Engineering Education

1. Langer, R., Foreward to Encyclopedia of Controlled Drug Delivery,
Volume 1, Etith Mathiowitz (ed.), John Wiley and Sons, NY (1999)
2. Langer, R., "New Methods of Drug Delivery," Science, 249, September
1990, pp. 1527-1533
3. Kydonieus, A.F., Controlled Release Technologies: Methods, Theory
and Applications. Vol. 1, New York, CRC Press, Inc. pp. 48 (1980)
4. Mathiowitz, E., Encyclopedia of Controlled Delivery. Vol. 2, New York,
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 493,729 (1999)
5. Farrell, S., and R.P. Hesketh, "An Introduction to Drug Delivery for
Chemical Engineers," Chem. Eng. Ed., 36(3), 198 (2002)
6. Prausnitz, M.R., and A.S. Bommarius, "Drug Design, Development
and Delivery: An Interdisciplinary Course on Pharmaceuticals," Chem.
Eng. Ed., 45(1), 47 (2011)
7. Simon, L., K. Kanneganti, and K.S. Kim, "Pharmacokinetics and Drug
Transport for Chemical Engineers," Chem. Eng. Ed., 44(4), 262 (2010)
8. Robinson, J.R., and V.H.L. Lee, Controlled Drug Delivery: Funda-
mentals and Application, 2nd ed. Vol. 29. New York Marcel Dekker,
Inc. pp.56,58,557(1987)
9. Lee,P.I. and W.R. Good, Controlled-Release Technology: Pharmaceuti-
cal Applications.,Washington, DC. 1987 Am. Chem. Society p. 201
10. Ritger, P.L., and N.A. Peppas, "A Simple Equation for Description
of Solute Release I. Fickian and Non- Fickian Release from Non-
Swellable Devices in the Form of Slabs, Spheres, Cylinders or Discs,"
J. Controlled Release, 5(1), 23 (1987)
11. Ritger, P.L., and N.A. Peppas, "A Simple Equation for Description
of Solute Release II. Fickian and Anomalous Release from Swellable
Devices," J. Controlled Release, 5(1), 37 (1987)
12. Peppas, N.A., and J.J. Sahlin, "A Simple Equation for the Description

of Solute Release. III. Coupling of Diffusion and Relaxation," Int. J.
Pharmaceutics, 57, 169-172 (1989)
13. Kwiatek, M.A., S. Roman, A. Fareeduddin, J.E. Pandolfino, and P.J.
Kahrilas, "AnAlginate-Antacid Formulation (Faviscon Double Action
Liquid) Can Eliminate or Displace the Postprandial 'Acid Pocket' in
Symptomatic GERD Patients," AP&TAlimentary Pharmacology and
Therapeutics, 34, 59-66 (2011)
14. Peters, H.P.F., R.J. Koppert, H.M. Boers, A. Strom, S.M. Melnikov, E.
Haddeman, E.A.H. Schuring, D.J. Mela, and S.A. Wiseman, "Dose-
Dependent Suppression of Hunger by a Specific Alginate in a Low
Viscosity Drink Formulation," Obesity, 19(6), 1171 (2011)
15. Ishak, R.A.H., G.A.S. Awad, N.D. Mortada, and A.K. Samia Nour,
"Preparation, In Vitro and in Vivo Evaluation of Stomach-Specific
Metronidazole-Loaded Alginate Beads as Local Anti-Helicobacter
Pylori Therapy," J. Controlled Release, 119(2), 207 (2007)
16. Al-Kassas, R.S., O.M.N.Al-Gohary, and M.M. Al-Faadhel, "Control-
ling of Systemic Absorption of Gliclazide through Incorporation into
Alginate Beads," Int. J. Pharmaceutics, 341(1-2), 230 (2007)
17. Gu, F., B. Amsden, and R. Neufeld, "Sustained Delivery of Vascular
Endothelial Growth Factor with Alginate Beads," J. Controlled Release,
96(3), 463 (2004)
18. Mierisch, C.M., S.B. Cohen, L.C. Jordan, P.G. Robertson, G. Balian,
and D.R. Diduch, "Transforming Growth Factor-P in Calcium Alginate
Beads for the Treatment of Articular Cartilage Defects in the Rabbit,"
Arthroscopy: The J. Arthroscopic and Related Surgery, 18(8), 892
19. Read, T-A, V. Stensvaag, H. Vindenes, E. Ulvestad, R. Bjerkvig, and
F. Thorsen, "Cells Encapsulated In Alginate: A Potential System For
Delivery Of Recombinant Proteins To Malignant Brain Tumors," Int.
J. Developmental Neuroscience, 17(5-6), 653 (1999) 0

100% i

60% -

* Posttest

40% --

20% ---



Rowan 2

Rowan 1

Figure 12. Percentage of correct responses for each learning outcome as described in Table 2. The percentage includes
responses for all questions mapped to a particular outcome.

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012




M curriculum




a Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 44106
b University of Botswana Gaborone, Botswana

The typical engineering course is aptly described by Ru-
garcia, et al.,[11
"The professor stands at the front of the room, copying
a derivation from his notes onto the board and repeating
aloud what he writes. The students sit passively, copy-
ing from the board, reading, working on homework from
another class, or daydreaming. Once in a while the profes-
sor asks a question: the student in the front row who feels
compelled to answer almost every question may respond
and the others simply avoid eye contact with the professor
until the awkward moment passes. At the end of the class
students are assigned several problems that require them
to do something similar to what the professor just did or
simply to solve the derived formula for some variable from
given values of other variables. The next class is the same,
and so is the next one, and the one after that."

We are exploring teaching environments that are dia-
metrically opposite to this description, and have attempted to
create such a course. We have chosen to apply our ideas to a
core engineering course required by all engineering students
regardless of major. This type of course faces the greatest
challenge for effective teaching since students generally have
low interest in the course content, and the course content is
rigidly defined.
Broadly, our strategy draws on two thrusts of educational
research. First, controlled studies show that students learn
more deeply when they are active participants via group
work, discussions, and hands-on activities, as opposed to
passive participants in the audience of a lecture.[2,3] Second,
experiential learning theories put forth by Kolb[4-6] and oth-
ers suggest that optimal learning occurs when the students
traverse a cycle in which they first experience something

concrete, then have an opportunity to reflect on what they
have observed, then develop an abstract model or ideas to
explain the experience, and then carry out some sort of test of
their ideas, which in turn generates new concrete experiences
and starts another cycle operating at a more advanced stage
of knowledge. This "Learning Cycle" approach is illustrated

Daniel Lacks is the C. Benson Branch
Professor of Chemical Engineering at Case
Western Reserve University He received his
B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell
University and his Ph.D. in chemistry from
Harvard University. His research interests
are in statistical mechanics and molecular

Mohan Sankaran is an associate professor
of chemical engineering at Case Western
Reserve University. He received his Bach-
elor's degree in chemical engineering from
the University of California at Los Angeles
and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from
the California Institute of Technology. His
research interests include plasma chemistry
and processing, nanomaterial synthesis and
characterization, and triboelectric charging
of insulating materials.
Clever Ketlogetswe is a senior lecturer and
the head of the Department of Mechanical
Engineering at the University of Botswana.
He completed his B.Eng. and M.Sc. from
the University of Portsmouth (UK) and his
Ph.D. in combustion processes from the
University of Manchester (UK). His research
interests are in renewable energy resources
including biofuels.

@ Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

Chemical Engineering Education

in Figure 1. In the context of technical fields of study, this
cycle has a clear resemblance to what is commonly referred
to as the "scientific method."
The basis of our approach is that we teach the course in a
foreign country, and intertwine technical content with societal
issues of the foreign culture; this connection is used to launch
an experiential learning approach to the course. There are two
key consequences of teaching the course in a foreign country.
First, students are able to experience a direct connection be-
tween technical content and societal issues. Second, students
take only one course over a few weeks (rather than multiple
courses spread out over several months); this format creates op-
portunities for experiential learning, as the longer class meeting
times allow for a range of activities throughout the complete
Learning Cycle, and the absence of other commitments enables
extended field trips for experiential activities.[7-9
While much of engineering education is thought to be expe-
riential because it deals with laboratory work and real-world
applications, experiential learning in its full-blown form, as
can be seen from its description, requires somewhat more
structure. In this paper, we explicitly connect the learning
activities to the elements of the cycle, to provide a template
that can be adapted to other teaching contexts.
In addition to the pedagogical benefits, our approach also
broadens the global perspective of the students. Study abroad
is difficult for engineering students, due to the large number of
required courses (which usually must be taken in a particular
order) and the importance of summer internships. We confine
our course to a three-week period in May, where it does not
disrupt either the academic year or summer internships.
We implemented our idea for the first time in 2011, teach-
ing a core engineering course that is required at Case Western
Reserve University (CWRU). The technical content was
connected to societal issues in sub-Saharan Africa, and the
course was taught at the University of Botswana (UB) in Ga-
borone, Botswana. Botswana was chosen because it is among
the wealthiest countries in Africa, has a stable democratic
government and low crime rate, and English is the official
language. We had 21 students enrolled in the course in 2011
(all from CWRU).

Our course is a special offering of a core engineering course
in thermal sciences at CWRU. The regular offering is taught in
the traditional lecture format over a full semester. The course
covers heat transfer (20% of the course), fluid flow (30%), and
thermodynamics (50%), and uses the text Fundamentals of
Thermal-Fluid Sciences, by Cengel, Turner, and Cimbala.110'
The technical content in our offering is the same as that in the
regular offering. The workload is also the same, as quantified
by the total number of contact hours, the number of homework
problems, and the number of exams.

Figure 1. Schematic of Kolb's learning cycle.

The course runs during a three-week period in May. Classes
are held an average of five days/week, but are dispersed
throughout all seven days of the week in order to accom-
modate field trips. A typical class meets for 3.5 hours in the
morning in a classroom at UB, but additional problem-solving
sessions are held on an ad hoc basis during field trips in ven-
ues such as airplanes, buses, and hotel lobbies. Homework
assignments are given each day the class meets and are due
the next day; usually a significant fraction of the homework
could be completed during the problem-solving segments of
the class period. The students live in dormitories on the UB
campus and have meals in the campus dining halls. While
our course does not include UB students, we run a concur-
rent research program that does include UB students111-the
students in our course have significant interaction with these
UB students, as these two programs share housing, dining,
and most activities.
The driving force behind our teaching is the Learning Cycle.
We introduce a topic through concrete experiences associated
with Botswana. These experiences are discussed in class, to
facilitate reflective observation. Abstract conceptual models
underlying the phenomenon are next developed, usually via
mathematical derivations in class. Results of these models are
obtained with various parameters-this active experimenta-
tion generates insight and intuition on the behavior. Often,
various parts of the Learning Cycle are repeated. Detailed
examples of this approach are given below.
Heat Transfer: The traditional African mud hut
Botswana's semi-arid climate leads to large temperature
fluctuations between day and night. From their first day in
Botswana, our students experience this first-hand-it is un-

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

comfortably hot during the day while wearing shorts and a
tee-shirt, but it cools down at night such that long pants and
a sweatshirt are needed. In addition, we visit a traditional
African hut (Figure 2a), and the students are told that while
the hut appears very simple, it is actually a good design that
responds well to temperature variations.
These concrete experiences serve as a lead-in to a discussion
(reflective observation) on the engineering design of dwellings
to optimize thermal comfort. At first thought, it appears that
the optimal dwelling would have heavily insulated walls, to
keep the heat out during the day and the cold out during the
night. We tell the class that actually the walls of the African
hut work even better than heavy insulation.
An abstract conceptual model of heat transfer through a hut
wall is necessary to generate evidence to support this claim.
The time dependent heat transfer equation is derived,

aT k a-T
at pC, ax2

where t is time, x is the position in the wall, T is tempera-
ture at position x at time t, k is the thermal conductivity, p
is the density, and C is the heat capacity. To determine the
temperature inside the hut, we use as boundary conditions an
oscillating temperature on the exterior side of the wall and
zero heat flux on the interior side of the wall. The equation
is solved numerically, using a finite difference method that
is easily implemented in a spreadsheet.[121
With this model, we carry out "what if" experiments to
explore what factors influence heat transfer. Figure 2b shows
the solution for the temperature inside the hut as a function of
time, using thermal parameters for a mud brickl]31 and a wall
thickness of 20 cm. The temperature inside the hut oscillates
with time, but these oscillations are out of phase with the
oscillations of the outside temperature-the hut walls act as
passive "air conditioners" in the day and passive heaters at
night. Experimentation with the thermal parameters shows
that a "modem" Western-style insulated wall is not nearly
as effective in controlling the temperature, and that a wall
thickness of approximately 20 cm is optimal.
Further reflection shows that the effect is an inherently
unsteady state phenomenon, and the key parameter is the
large thermal capacity of the walls (the product pCp). What
happens is that the walls begin heating up during the day,
but by the time the heat reaches the inner surface of the
wall it is already nighttime; at night the walls begin cool-
ing, but by the time the cooling reaches the inner surface
it is already daytime. The mud brick wall is only effective
when large daily temperature swings straddle the most
comfortable temperature; if the temperature is always "too
cold" or "too hot", then the wall material with the lowest
k (modern insulation) is optimal as it minimizes heating
or cooling costs.

(b) 40

10 1
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Time (days)

Figure 2. (a.) Our students enjoying themselves in front
of a traditional African mud hut. (b.) Model results for
the temperature inside the hut (thick grey line) when
there are daily oscillations in outside temperature (thin
black line). Results obtained using thermal parameters
found in the literature for a mud brick wall (k=0.37 W/
mK, p=1780 kg/m3, C =1190 J/kgK) and a wall thickness
of 20 cm.

Fluid Flow
i. Providing water for villages in the Kalahari desert
Botswana is largely covered by the Kalahari Desert, and
deep wells are needed to reach water. To give the students
concrete experience in this regard, a data sheet for a water
well in the village of Thamaga is obtained from the Botswana
Water Authority and given to the students (Figure 3a). This
enables students to see actual parameters for such wells, in-
cluding the well depth (163 m), aquifer depth (106 m), well
pipe diameter (165-230 mm, depending on depth), and water
flow rate (25 m3/h).
What factors affect the cost of providing water to the vil-
lages? A discussion facilitates reflective observation of this
question. Of course, power is required to lift the water from
the bottom well against gravity. Other factors, however, such
as frictional energy losses at pipe walls, could also affect the
necessary power.
An abstract conceptual model is developed to quantify the
power needed to pump the water. We derive the energy bal-

Chemical Engineering Education

...... ... ................. ^ ;

G.S. 184

R PJEil lOkw9989 a


Figure 3. (a.) Specifications of borehole well in Thamaga village, Botswana.
(b.) Class visit to the well, guided by engineer from the Botswana Water Authority
(at front center).

ance for flowing incompressible fluids, which leads to the expression for the power
needed to pump a fluid from point 1 to point 2,

W= -fri'v + hgh, +-iP2 vilv + ihgh, +- P, +E oss (2)
2 p 2 p
where rh is the mass flow rate, and vi, hi, and Pi are the velocity, elevation, and pres-
sure at point i, p is the density, g is the gravitational constant, and E,_ is the rate of
frictional energy loss.

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

In regard to the use of
concrete experiences
related to a foreign
culture, the students

overwhelmingly felt
that this experience
got them more
interested in the

technical content ....

We follow the development of
the model with active experimenta-
tion-we estimate how much pow-
er would be needed to pump water
from this well, using the parameters
given in the well data sheet (fric-
tional losses were neglected at this
point). We find that 7 kW of power
is required to pump water at 25
m3/h. Since the cost of electricity
in Botswana is 0.6 Botswana Pula
(BWP) per kWh,['4] the cost to
pump the water is approximately
0.2 BWP per cubic meter of water
(1 BWP= 0.15 USD).
The same day, the class travels to
visit this well, guided by an engi-
neer from Botswana Water Author-
ity (Figure 3b). As further concrete
experience, the students see first-
hand the well they analyzed earlier
in the day (and also learn about
other aspects of water systems in
Botswana). Thamaga village is
charged 1 BWP per cubic meter of
water. Our calculation of the cost
required to pump the water from the
well accounts for about 1/5 of this
charge; other factors contributing to
the charge include the inefficiency
of the pump, water treatment (we
visit the water treatment plant), and
transport of the water from the well
to the village.
The visit to a second water well
near Thamaga, which provides 20
m3/h of water to a village approxi-

mately 40 km away via a 90 mm diameter pipeline,
provides concrete experience for the role of frictional
losses in fluid flow-power is required to pump the
water through the pipeline, even though there is no
significant change in elevation. In class the next day,
we discuss how this power is needed to overcome
frictional losses due to the moving fluid interacting
with the stationary pipe wall (reflective observa-
tion). An abstract conceptual model for fluid losses
is introduced,

E-f (3)
1os p ID T 2

where L is the length of the pipe, D is the pipe di-
ameter, and f is the Darcy friction factor (f=64/Re
for laminar flow, and f=0.316/Re"4 is the Blasius ap-
proximation for turbulent flow in smooth pipes). Ac-
tive experimentation shows that frictional losses are
negligible in the case of the first well, but significant
in the case of the second well. For the second well,
18 kW of power is needed to overcome the frictional
losses for 20 m3/h of water, which corresponds to a
cost of 0.6 BWP per cubic meter of water (this cal-
culation was given as an exam problem).
ii. Victoria Falls
Fluid flow is also addressed in the context of
Victoria Falls, one of the world's largest waterfalls.
Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River be-
tween Zimbabwe and Zambia, about 80 km outside
of Botswana. Active experimentation with the energy
balance equation [Eq. (2)] shows that the falls release
W = 1 GW of power, based on a height of 100 m (the
highest point is 108 m) and a flow rate of 1100 m3/s
(the annual average). Reflective observation puts this
value into context: the available energy could power
10 million 100 W light bulbs. The class visits Victoria
Falls as part of a three-day excursion to the north of
Botswana midway through the course (Figure 4)- this
visit provides concrete experience of the power cor-
responding to 10 million light bulbs.
i. Thermodynamics of diamonds
The high standard of living in Gaborone, the capital
of Botswana, is obvious to our students. For example,
shopping malls in Gaborone are indistinguishable
from "upscale" malls in the United States. This wealth
is recent. When Botswana became independent in
1966, it was among the poorest countries in the world.
In 1967, diamond was discovered in Botswana, and
diamond mining began a few years later. Today, Bo-
tswana is the world's largest producer of diamonds

(by value),[s15 and the diamond industry has transformed the country
to one of the richest in Africa. The students visited the diamond
mine in Jwaneng (Figure 5), which produced over 10 million carats
of diamond in 2009 and is the richest diamond mine in the world. 161
These concrete experiences motivate reflective observation on
diamond. Diamond and graphite are both forms of carbon; graphite is
the thermodynamically stable phase at low pressures, while diamond
is the thermodynamically stable phase at high pressures. If diamond
thus forms only at very high pressures, and such high pressures exist
deep inside the earth, at what depth does the pressure become high
enough for diamonds to form?
We develop an abstract conceptual model to determine the thermo-
dynamic stability of diamond as a function of depth inside the earth.
Diamond is thermodynamically stable with respect to graphite at the
depth where the Gibbs free energy of diamond relative to graphite is
negative, AG(h) < 0. While AG depends directly on pressure (P) and

Figure 4. Two of our students at Victoria Falls, with its perma-
nent rainbow. A calculation carried out in class showed that
the energy of the falling water at Victoria Falls could power 10
million 100 Wlightbulbs.

temperature (T), P and T depend on h-P increases with depth due
to the gravitational force from the material above, and temperature
increases with depth due to the presence of radioactive material in
the earth. The relevant equations are

AG(h) = AGo +[P(h)- P ]AVO -[T(h)- T ]ASO (4)

P(h) =P +pgh

T(h) =T +bh + ch

where AV and AS are the differences in molar volume and molar
entropy of diamond relative to graphite, the designation ,'' implies
evaluation at P=1 atm and T= 25 "C, p is the density, g is the gravi-
tational constant, and b and c are empirical constants. These equa-
tions include approximations: Eq. (4) neglects changes of AV and

Chemical Engineering Education

AS with P and T, Eq. (5) assumes constant p, and Eq. (6) is
the polynomial fit of experimental results for the temperature
profile under South Africa.t171
Active experimentation with this model is used to estimate
the depths at which diamond becomes stable, using Eqs. (4)-
(6). A comparison of the pressure as a function of depth with
the diamond-graphite stability range, shown in Figure 5, leads
to the estimate that diamond is more stable than graphite for
h> 10 km (a more rigorous treatment would use more accurate
pressure and temperature distributions in earth, and account
for changes of AV, AS with P and T).
The students see that the diamond mine is only 300 m
deep, far less than the >110 km depths at which diamonds
are formed. In fact, diamonds are brought to near the surface
by volcanic activity, whereby magma from deep in the earth
("Kimberlite") carries the diamonds from deep inside the earth
to near the surface, where they can be collected and purified
by mining operations.

ii. Energy from cow dung
Most African villages are not connected to national electri-
cal and telephone grids. Portable devices such as cell phones
are useful, but electricity is needed to charge the batteries
(about 5 W-h per battery). A sustainable and essentially free
source of energy in Botswana villages is cow dung-Botswa-
na has more cows than people! 81 Our trips outside Gaborone
give students concrete experience with villages having no
electricity but plenty of cattle (Figure 6).
Reflective observation is stimulated by a seminar describ-
ing research at UB using a calorimeter to determine the
energy content of cow dung under various conditions. The
abstract conceptual model underlying calorimeter involves
the equation
AE = MCAT (7)

where M and C are the mass and heat capacity of the water,
and AE and AT are the changes in the internal energy and tem-
perature of the water. As active experimentation, students are
asked (on an exam) to determine how many cell phone batteries
could be charged with 1 kg of cow dung, using the experimental
result that the combustion of 206 g of cow dung increases the
temperature of 2226 g of water from 16.8 "C to 52.1 "C. The
calculation shows that 89 cell phone batteries could potentially
be charged from the energy in 1 kg of cow dung.

Our assessment of the 2011 implementation of our course
aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of two "nontraditional"
aspects of our course-the one-course-at-a-time format and
the relationship of technical course content to societal issues
in a foreign culture. A questionnaire was given to the students
after they returned to the United States (and after grades had

(b) 7
S 4




0 50 100 150 200 250

h (km)

Figure 5. (a.) Our students at the richest diamond mine
in the world in Jwaneng, Botswana. (b.)Graphite-diamond
stability curves as a function of depth inside of the earth.
Results of our analysis show that diamond is thermo-
dynamically more stable than graphite at depths below
-110 km in the earth. The model was evaluated with the
parameters AGO =2900 J/mol, AV = -1.88 cm3/mol,
ASo= -3.36 J/mol. K,p = 3000 kg/m3, b= 11 `C/km and
c = -0.023 C/km2.

Figure 6. The students saw that there are many cattle in
Botswana, and villages without electricity. Calculations
carried out in class, using data from University of Bo-
tswana research labs, showed that 1 kg of cow dung can
provide the energy to recharge 89 cell phone batteries.

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

been assigned). All students completed the questionnaire, and
results are shown in Table 1.
The students overwhelmingly felt that the one-course-at-a-
time format was effective in allowing for activities throughout
the complete learning cycle (question Q1). The modular
format had additional favorable features, in that the absence
of other classes allowed the students to focus better (Q2), and
that problem-solving activities during the class time catalyzed
group work that helped learning (Q3). Only 10% of the class
felt that the short duration of the course detracted from their
learning (Q4).
In regard to the use of concrete experiences related to a
foreign culture, the students overwhelmingly felt that this
experience got them more interested in the technical content
(Q5), and, when combined with other components of the learn-
ing cycle, helped them better understand the material (Q6).
There was not as strong a feeling that the concrete experiences
in themselves directly aided understanding course material
(Q7), which is understandable in that other components of
the learning cycle are also needed.
As for whether the students felt they learned more than
they would have in the regular offering of the course (Q8),
slightly more than half agreed that they did. Of the students
that did not agree, only 5% (one student) disagreed with this
statement, while the others were neutral. Therefore, while
the students as a whole may not have felt they learned more
in our course compared to the regular offering, they did not
feel that they learned less.

Finally, all students felt that the course in Botswana gave
them a global perspective that many people in the United
States do not have the opportunity to obtain (Q9).

Our goal is to create a course that overcomes the dry and of-
ten ineffective learning environment in traditional engineering
courses. The approach follows the ideas of experiential learn-
ing, where students actively participate in a cycle of learn-
ing processes that tackle the problem in different ways (the
Learning Cycle). The novelty of our approach is to intertwine
the technical content with societal issues in a foreign culture
to initiate the experiential learning. The course is taught at
a university in a foreign country, in an intensive three-week
format, to facilitate the experiential learning activities.
Based on the results of our assessment of our initial imple-
mentation of the course, we believe the approach met its
intended goals. In particular, the students felt that experiential
learning approach was successful-the connection of techni-
cal content to societal issues in a foreign culture generated
interest in the technical content, and the use of activities
throughout the Learning Cycle helped them better understand
the material. Further, the students felt that the one-course-at-
a-time format facilitated the experiential learning approach,
and allowed them to focus better on the course.
Surprisingly, the cost for students to take our course is com-
parable to the cost for taking the same course on the CWRU
campus during the regular (eight-week) summer session.

Chemical Engineering Education

Results of Assessment Survey
Assessment Questions Strongly Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
Agree Disagree
1. The intermixing of lecture with problem solving in a single (long) 75 20 5 0 0
class period helped me learn the material better
2. The course format allowed me to work with others in the course 50 45 5 0 0
more effectively, which in turn helped me learn the material better
3. I was able to focus better on this course because I didn't have to 85 15 0 0 0
devote time to other courses
4. The course was too condensed in time and this prevented me from 0 10 25 40 25
learning the material as well as I could have
5. The connection of course content to African life made me more 50 40 5 5 0
interested in the course material
6. The opportunity to, within a day or two, actually see instances of 40 50 5 5 0
a phenomenon (e.g., water well, water fall, diamond mine, African
hut), derive the relevant equations, and apply these equations helped
me understand the material better
7. The connection of course content to African life clarified technical 25 45 25 5 0
content and helped me learn the material better
8.1 learned more than if I took the regular ENGR 225 course 35 25 35 5 0
9. The program in Africa gave me a global perspective that most 70 30 0 0 0
people in the United States don't have

The costs for students in our course consists of three parts:
(a) $3,100 for tuition, which is the standard tuition rate for
a 4-credit summer course on the CWRU campus; (b) $650
for room and board (single room and all meals); (c) ~$1,500
for the flight to and from Botswana (the flights are booked
directly by the students, and most students travel from their
hometowns to Botswana). Thus the total cost for a student
is approximately $5,250. In comparison to taking the same
course on the CWRU campus during the eight-week summer
session, the cost of the flight to Botswana is largely offset
by the much-higher room and board costs at CWRU (over
eight weeks). The tuition income from the course generated
a surplus of funds after covering all course expenses (salaries
and travel for two instructors and a teaching assistant from
CWRU, all activities including a three-day safari excursion,
and local costs at UB).
We realize that this type of approach cannot become the
general solution to the inadequacies in engineering educa-
tion due to "scale-up" issues. At CWRU, approximately 400
students take this core course every year, and it would not
be possible to teach them all with the approach we describe
here. We believe this is the only real shortcoming of the ap-
proach. Nevertheless, our approach can provide a great (and
memorable) impact on a smaller scale.

This material is based upon work initiated with travel grants
from the National Science Foundation (DMR-0912335), and
the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Educa-
tion at Case Western Reserve University.

1. Rugarcia, A., R.M. Felder, D.R. Woods, and J.E. Stice, "The Future
of Engineering Education I. A Vision for a New Century," Chem. Eng.
Ed., 34(1), 16 (2000)

2. Hake, R.R., "Interactive-Engagement Versus Traditional Methods: A
Six-Thousand-Student Survey of Mechanics Test Data for Introductory
Physics Courses," Am. J. Phys., 66, 64 (1998)
3. Felder, R.M., G.N. Felder, and E.J. Dietz, "A Longitudinal Study of
Engineering Student Performance and RetentionV. Comparisons with
Traditionally Taught Students," J. Eng. Ed., 87,469 (1998)
4. Kolb, D.A., Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of
Learning and Development, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall
5. Kolb, D.A., R.E. Boyatzis, and C. Mainemelis, "Experiential Learning
Theory: Previous Research and New Directions," in R.J. Sternberg and
L.F. Zhang (Eds.), Perspectives on Cognitive, Learning, and Thinking
Styles, Lawrence Erlbaum, Prentice-Hall, NJ (2000)
6. Kolb, D.A., I.M. Rubin, and J.M. McIntyre, Instructors Manual, Or-
ganizational Psychology: An Experiential Approach to Organizational
Behavior, Prentice-Hall, NJ (1984)
7. van Scyoc, L.J., and J. Gleason, "Traditional or Intensive Course
Lengths? A Comparison of Outcomes in Economics Learning," J.
Econ. Ed., 24, 15 (1993)
8. Burton, S., and P.L. Nesbit, "Block or Traditional? An Analysis of
Student Choice of Teaching Format," J. Management & Organization,
14,4 (2008)
9. Davies, W.M., "Intensive Teaching Formats: A Review," Issues In
Educational Research, 16, 1 (2006)
10. Cengel, Y.A., J.H. Turner, and R.M. Cimbala, Fundamentals of
Thermal-Fluid Sciences, 3rd ed., McGraw Hill (2008)
11. "Research on Sustainable Energy for sub-Saharan Africa," an Inter-
national Research Experiences for Students program funded by the
National Science Foundation
12. Rives, C., and DJ. Lacks, "Teaching Process Control With a Numerical
Approach Based on Spreadsheets," Chem. Eng. Ed., 36(4),242 (2002)
13. Etuk, S.E., I.O.Akpabio, and E.M. Udoh, "Comparison of the Thermal
Properties of Clay Samples as Potential Walling Material for Naturally
Cooled Building Design," J. Environ. Sci., 15, 65 (2003)
15. Stark,A., J.M. Peralta, and L. Arendse, "Botswana: The World's Largest
Diamond Producer By Value," Eng. Mining J., May 2007,70 (2007)
16. "Jwaneng-the de Beers Group," Exploration-and-mining/Mining-operations/Jwaneng/>
17. Rudnick, R.L., W.F. McDonough, and R.J. O'Connell, "Thermal
Structure, Thickness and Composition of Continental Lithosphere,"
Chem. Geol., 145, 395 (1998)
18. "Botswana," U.S. Department of State, 4/18/2011, gov/r/paleilbgn/1830.htm> 0

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

M curriculum
HIH l-------------------------



by Integrating Life Cycle Assessment

into the Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

University of Florida Gainesville, Florida 32611

Nanotechnology is poised to become a critical driver
of economic growth and development for the early
21st century. It emerges from the physical, chemical,
biological, and engineering sciences, where novel techniques
are being developed to probe and manipulate single atoms
and molecules. At a worldwide scale, most scientists and
engineers are now confident that nanoscience and nanotech-
nology will revolutionize medical, industrial, agricultural,
and environmental research.
Because of the expected impact of nanotechnology, aspects
of the field are being actively incorporated into undergradu-
ate curricula at various colleges and universities. Strategies
employed in the integration of nanotechnology range from
incorporation of modules on nanotechnology into existing
courses[112] and development of new coursest3,] to establish-
ment of nanotechnology concentration areas within traditional
engineering programs"5 and even creation of nanotechnology
departments offering degrees in nano-engineering.,t67
Most individual courses on nanotechnology focus on manu-
facturing and application aspects of nanotechnology, while its
environmental impacts are either discussed very briefly or not
at all. It is increasingly recognized, however, that the develop-
ment of nanotechnology should be accompanied by parallel
efforts to investigate its potential health and environmental
effects.1*8 Although research on the health and environmental
impacts of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) is still in its
infancy, it is fast growingt9"201 and it is imperative that en-
gineering students are exposed to its most current findings.

Impacts of nanotechnology on the environment and health
are discussed in comprehensive nanotechnology programs,
such as the Nanotechnology Processes track offered by
the Chemical Engineering Department at the Oregon State
Universityf1 and the NanoEngineering B.S. program offered
by the Department of Nanotechnology at UC San Diego.t61
Participation in these programs requires a long-term com-
mitment from the students and it would be desirable to offer

Dmitry I. Kopelevich is an associate professor of chemical engineering
at the University of Florida. He received his B.S. in applied mathematics
from the Kuban State University (Russia) and a dual Ph.D. in chemical
engineering and mathematics from the University of Notre Dame. His
research interests include molecular modeling of interactions between
manufactured nanoparticles and biomembranes.
Kirk J. Ziegler is an associate professor of chemical engineering at the
University of Florida. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from
the University of Cincinnati and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the
University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include interfacial
phenomena, nanotechnology, and renewable energy
Angela S. Lindner is an associate professor of environmental engineer-
ing sciences and associate dean for Students' Affairs in the College
of Engineering at the University of Florida. She received her B.S. in
chemistry from The College of Charleston and Ph.D. in civil and envi-
ronmental engineering from the University of Michigan. Her research
interests include the investigation of production, disposal, and beneficial
uses of different commercial products within the life cycle assessment
Jean-Claude J. Bonzongo is an associate professor of environmental
engineering sciences at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D.
in environmental chemistry and microbiology from the University of
Rennes 1 (France). His research interests include the environmental
fate and impacts of ENMs.
Copyright ChEDivision ofASEE2012
Chemical Engineering Education

a single course or a short course
sequence that would expose inter-
ested students to manufacturing and
application of ENMs, as well as
their environmental impact.
To meet this objective, we de-
veloped a sequence of two courses
that introduce engineering students
to different life-cycle stages of
ENMs. The courses were offered
in the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009
semesters and provided students
with a solid foundation of nanoscale
science and technology as well
as the anticipated environmental
challenges associated with their
development. The ultimate goal of
these courses, however, is to prepare
the undergraduate engineer to not
only recognize the need but also to
be able to design nanomaterials into
commercial products with the envi-
ronment and public health in mind.
In these courses, the environ-
mental aspects of nanotechnology
are introduced using the life-cycle
assessment (LCA) framework. LCA
is a systematic method of assess-
ing the environmental and health
impacts of product systems and
services, accounting for the emis-

Module 1
I Module 2
Integration Application

Module 3
Risk Assessment
Loss to the environment from synthesis,
processing, application, and disposal
Human exposure and human health impacts
Environmental fate and transport measurements
S iand modeling

Life Cycle Assessment
Nanoscale-Green synthesis of nanomaterials
Module 4 Synthesis to Reuse/Disposal Stages-Inventory,
impact, and improvement assessments
Valuation of alternative products and processes-
U implications for the economy and society

Figure 1. Conceptual model for the development of learning materials. Module 1
focused on the synthesis ofENMs; Module 2 emphasized the integration and applica-
tion of ENMs; Module 3 dealt with the environmental and health risks (i.e., exposure,
toxicity, fate, and transport); and Module 4 defined the life cycle assessment (LCA)
framework for the developed courses.

sions and resource uses during the extraction and processing
of raw materials and the design, production, distribution, use,
reuse, recycle, and disposal of a product or function.[21-241 The
LCA approach includes the following steps:
Scoping and goal definition (establishing the boundaries
and objectives of the model),
Inventory analysis (acquiring necessary inputs and out-
Impact assessment (computation of the environmental
and health effects),
Improvement analysis (determination of the sensitivity of
the variables in the model on the impacts and assessment
of model robustness), and
Valuation and decision-making (interpreting the results
The U.S. EPA recently expressed the need for LCA in the de-
sign stage of nanomaterials[25 and many corporations and non-
government organizations are following suit.126] Introducing a
life-cycle view of ENMs into the undergraduate curriculum
allows students to become exposed to an environmentally con-
scious design, environmental literacy, and the beyond-the-plant

aspects of this new technology just before they enter the job
market or graduate school. Although LCA was incorporated into
some chemical engineering courses, such as the Heat Transfer
course, 27'281 to the best of our knowledge, the LCA framework
has not been applied to any courses on nanotechnology.

Figure 1 shows the organization of the course sequence.
The sequence is focused on four conceptual modules: (1)
Synthesis of nanomaterials; (2) Integration of nanomaterials
and their applications; (3) Risk assessment; and (4) Life cycle
assessment. The first semester (Part I) primarily covered the
concepts in module 1 and the integration aspects of module 2.
The goal of the first semester was to provide students with the
scientific foundation of nanomaterial properties and the forces
that act on nanoparticles. The second semester consisted of
the remaining modules, which emphasized environmental
and health implications of nanotechnology, as well as an
understanding of LCA approaches and sustainable develop-
ment of this emerging technology. More importantly, the LCA
component pulled together the different course components
by modeling the impacts from the entire life cycle.

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

The first three weeks of the first semester were devoted to
introducing the students to the basic concepts covered dur-
ing the sequence. This included basic discussions about the
importance of nanotechnology, why molecular modeling is
important to understanding properties of nanomaterials, and
a brief introduction to life cycle analysis. Although this lat-
ter topic was not covered in detail until the second semester,
we felt it was important to introduce these concepts early
so that students could pay attention to the processes used in
nanotechnology and how they might affect the environment
and human health. The remaining topics covered during Parts

I and II of the course sequence are shown in Tables 1 and 2,
respectively. A brief description of each module is provided
Module 1 -Synthesis ofEngineered Nanomaterials: This
module first introduced students to the unique size-dependent
properties of nanomaterials and their qualitative difference
from bulk materials in the Physiochemical & Modeling Back-
ground section. The students were introduced to experimental
and computational techniques for characterizing the properties
of nanomaterials. An emphasis was placed on understanding
the physics associated with the materials' properties. Once

Topics Covered During the First Semester of the Course Sequence
Part I
Course Sequence Overview
General Introduction
Week 1 Nanotechnology within life cycle assessment principles
Why nanotechnology Length scales Bottom-up/top-down Characterization
Week 2 General Concepts of LCA
Week 3 Toxicological methods
Physicoehemical & Modeling Background
Molecular Modeling
Week 4 Equations of motion-continuum vs. molecular models Potential functions Types of intermolecular and interatomic

Week 5 Analysis of Simulations and Overcoming Timescale Limitations
Probability distributions and correlation functions Potential of mean force (PMF) Methods for calculation of PMF
Week 6 Interactions Between Particles in Solution
Van der Waals and Electrostatic Interactions DLVO Theory Solvation and Steric Forces

Week 7 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
Photoelectric effect Wave-particle duality Schridinger equation Particle in a well

Week 8 Solid State Physics
Confinement effects Quantum wells, wires, and dots Semiconductors Band structure

Week 9 Optical Properties
Bandgap Exciton Emission spectra
Synthesis of Nanoengineered Materials

Week 10 Surfactant Self-assembly
Thermodynamics Packing considerations Preparation of templates Relevance to biomembranes
Week 11 Nanoparticle Growth
Desired traits Thermo/kinetic approaches Aerosol Microemulsion Templates Sol-gel Arrested growth
Nucleation and Growth
Week 12 Chemical potential Phase diagrams Supersaturation Homogeneous nucleation Heterogeneous nucleation
Nucleation of crystals Nucleation rate Ostwald Ripening
Week 13 Nanowire Growth
VLS Templates Heterostructures
Week 14 Carbon Nanotubes
Relationship between geometric structure and electronic properties of nanotubes Growth methods Functionalization
Integrating Nanomaterials
Week 15 Stability
Purification Size fractionation Separation of carbon nanotubes
Week 16 Nanomaterial Properties and Toxicity Implications

120 Chemical Engineering Education

the students had an adequate understanding of the physio-
chemical properties, the Synthesis of Nanomaterials for use
in engineered devices and applications was covered. This
section built upon the fundamental knowledge covered in
chemistry and physics courses as well as strengthening the
students' knowledge of reaction kinetics, diffusion, and fluid
and heat flow in their application to problems unique to the
synthesis of nanomaterials.New concepts, such as crystalliza-
tion, were also introduced. The students were introduced to a
wide variety of nano-sized building blocks, including micelles
and microemulsions, nanoparticles, and 1-D nanostructures,
such as nanowires and carbon nanotubes.
Module 2-Integration and Application of Engineered
Nanomaterials: This module focused on the manipulation
and integration of ENMs into devices and applications. The
first section, Integrating Nanomaterials, strengthened the
student's knowledge on separations, diffusion, and self-
assembly processes while introducing the new concepts of

interfacial phenomena, dispersion, and colloids, which play an
important role in the integration of nanomaterials into useful
devices and applications. Students were later exposed to the
nanotechnology potential in a wide variety of fields, includ-
ing microelectronics, manufacturing, information technology,
healthcare, biotechnology, energy, and materials science. This
material was covered in the Applications of Nanomaterials
and Implications for Human Health and the Environment
section (see Table 2).
Module 3-Risk Assessment of Engineered Nanomateri-
als: Understanding the effects of exposure to nanomaterials and
their environmental fate and transport is fundamental in deter-
mining the overall environmental impact of nanotechnology.[8E
This is challenging, however, as the industrial landscape is
growing and changing very rapidly. In addition, ENMs could
enter the environment from different stages along their life
cycle. The Potential Fate & Transport ofNanomaterials in the
Environment section of Module 3 was focused on the potential

Topics Covered During the Second Semester of the Course Sequence
Part H
Potential Fate & Transport of Nanomaterials in the Environment

Week 1 Environmental Pollution and Concepts in Pollutant Behavior
Introduction Connectedness of the geospheres and fate of pollutants
Week 2 Physicochemical Parameters
Aqueous solubility and factors influencing solubility Phase partitioning Physical/chemical interactions
Week 3 Nanoparticle Transport in Porous Media
Properties of Materials and Environmental Fate
Weeks 4 & 5 Transport in aqueous and soil systems Pollutant interactions with cell membranes Predictive approaches/tools Bioac-
cumulation, biotransformation, bioepuration Food transfer and biomagnification

Week 6 Framework for Environmental Toxicology and Toxicity of Nanomaterials
Toxicity testing Typical toxicity methods Routes of exposure and mode of action
Possible Mechanisms of Nanoparticle Toxicity
Weeks 7 & 8 Toxicity of nanomaterial synthesis Physicochemical characteristics of nanomaterial and potential toxicity Predictive
approaches/tools Green nanomaterial manufacturing and toxicity elimination
Applications of Nanomaterials and Implications for Human Health and the Environment
Dispersion Polymerization (carbon nanotubes)
Nanowire- and quantum-dot based nanomaterials
Week 9 Solar Cells
CdSe hybrid Dye-sensitized solar cells (TiO,, ZnO)
Medical Applications
Gold nanoshells Carbon nanotubes Sensors
Green Design and Environmental Implications
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): Overview and Methodology
Weeks 10 12 Metrics of Sustainability
Stages of LCA
Inventory analysis Impact analysis Sensitivity analysis
Case Studies
Weeks 13 & 14 Modeling Approaches
Manual Approaches Software (Simapro, TRACI, GaBi, Athena, Umberto) Limitations of Modeling
Weeks 15 & 16 LCA Application to Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology-related Case Studies Closing the Loop Defining "Sustainable Nanotechnology"
Nanomaterial design and modeling

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012 12

impacts of ENMs on the environment, their environmental
mobility, reactivity, bioavailability, and toxicity. Specifically,
the available experimental models to characterize the toxic
potentials of ultrafine particles and the fate of nanomaterials
after their intentional and/or non-intentional introduction to
soils and aquatic systems were discussed. This subsection
emphasized both the dispersal and ability of nanomaterials
to move from points of release to far away locations and to
encounter living organisms. The physicochemical properties
that make ENMs commercially attractive were also evaluated
for their potential risks to environmental and human health.
Finally, the students were introduced to the lack of adequate
experimental data to understand the nano-toxicological effects
and how molecular modeling can play an important role in
advancing our knowledge of these effects.
Module 4-Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): This module
taught students the fundamentals and methodology of LCA con-
struction with a specific emphasis on the synthesis, processing,
application, and disposal life-cycle stages of ENMs addressed
in modules 1 3. The introductory material educated students
in LCA development and reinforced the connection between
the synthesis, processing, application, and disposal stages with
potential environmental concerns. Students also learned how
impacts are calculated using various methods, including the
Environmental Risk Evaluation method presented by Allen and
Shonnard,129 the Argonne National Laboratory GREET model
that deals with transportation impacts,1303 and other methods
included in the modeling software discussed below. All steps
of LCA recommended in the ISO 14040 guidelines[21' were
thoroughly discussed with case studies of existing LCAs, along
with development of an LCA framework to compare traditional
processes with alternative green nanotechnologies reported in
the recent literature (e.g., see References 31 and 32). Students
were then introduced to various LCA modeling software pack-
ages, including SimaPro (Pr6 Associates,The Netherlands) and
TRACI (developed by the U.S. EPA and available as freeware
from the agency's website, ). As a final sec-
tion in this module, the implications of nanotechnology were
discussed from a life cycle perspective. As data from many
stages of the life cycle of nanomaterials were limited and not all
impacts of these materials can be predicted, the students were
challenged to construct wise approaches for handling these
technologies throughout their life cycle and for developing
wise policies and regulations.

The course sequence was offered during the 2008-2009
academic year. Course materials were developed to target
senior undergraduate students, because, at this stage in the cur-
riculum, engineering students from all disciplines have been
exposed to the necessary fundamental concepts in chemistry,
physics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, transport phenomena,
mechanics, numerical methods, and computer programming.

Therefore, developed course modules were designed to build
upon these concepts and expand students' mastery of these
subjects into this emerging discipline.Although the developed
courses were designed for undergraduate students, interested
graduate students were also allowed to enroll. A textbook on
basic nanotechnology principles[33] was required for Part I
while research articles and case studies were used for Part II.
All four instructors attended the first two weeks of the semes-
ter to emphasize the course's framework and the connectedness
of the different modules. After this general introduction sec-
tion, each of the two developed courses was taught primarily
by two instructors (e.g., Ziegler and Kopelevich for Part I and
Bonzongo and Lindner for Part II). The instructors attended
lectures during both semesters, except when lecture times
conflicted with other professional events. A student-centered
teaching approach was used in both courses. This method varies
from the traditional approach that relies on the belief that ideas
can be successfully transferred by simply telling them to the
students. The student-centered approach is based on the prem-
ise that students have better retention when they are actively
engaged and the approach relies on self-managed teams that
work collectively on Process-Oriented Guided-Inquiry Learn-
ing (POGIL) activities. The POGIL approach helps students
develop teamwork, communication, and management skills
while engaging in critical thinking and assessment as they
sharpen their problem-solving skills. This focus on soft skills is
particularly effective at educating students on the higher-order
cognitive tasks of the Bloom taxonomy.f341
The following POGIL activities were incorporated into the
course sequence:
Computational Experiments to Explore Nanoscale Phe-
nomena. These phenomena are not familiar to the students
from everyday experience or from the core chemical and
environmental engineering classes that traditionally focus
on macroscopic phenomena. In order to provide students a
hands-on experience with nanoscale systems, we introduced
molecular dynamics simulations (MD) into Part I of the
course sequence. MD simulations were performed using the
Molecular Workbench software package.[351 This open-source
package was specifically designed for educational purposes.
It enables students to start performing MD simulations with
minimum background. It employs a simplified molecular
model that nevertheless retains relevant physics. This enables
students to (i) perform simulations on their personal comput-
ers within a reasonable amount of time and (ii) explore ef-
fects of various molecular properties (such as charge, degree
of hydrophobicity, etc.) without being overwhelmed with
details of more accurate models. The students performed
molecular dynamics simulations to investigate nanoparticle
nucleation, interactions between colloidal nanoparticles, and
self-assembly in solution.
Open-ended Design Problems. Several open-ended assign-

Chemical Engineering Education

o Beginning of Fall 2008
(a)3 End of Fall 2008
M End of Spring 2008
2.5 r End of spring 2008 (full sequence students)


SI .5

1 2 3 4 5
Question number


1 2 3 4 5
Question Number

Al. What is special about the nanosize of particles?
A2. What types of forces dominate at nanoscale? List as many
as you can.
A3. What new challenges arise in manufacturing of
A4. What are the main differences between macro- and nano-
scale transport processes?
AS. What are the benefits and limitations of modeling versus
experimental approaches?

Figure 2. (a.) Average scores corresponding to each
question over the two semesters. Answers to questions
were lists of various nanomaterial properties. Therefore,
the grading scale was 1 point for every correct item on
the list. Here and in the following plots, "full sequence
students" refers to the students who have taken both
semesters of this class. (b.) Score of each question at the
end of the fall semester normalized to the beginning of
the sequence.

ments asked students to design a novel device or an experi-
ment. For example, in order to reinforce students' knowledge
of interparticle interactions, the students were asked to inves-
tigate possible applications of nanorod electrodes as computer
memory elements and nanorelays. In another assignment, the
students were asked to design an experiment to investigate
production of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) by fullerene
nanoparticles and the ROS effects on living organisms.
Critical Literature Reviews and In-Class Discussions. In

Part I of the course sequence, the students were asked to
perform a critical review, write a report, and make a pre-
sentation on various methods of nanoparticle synthesis. The
synthesis aspects discussed by the students included raw
materials, physical conditions, quality of the final product,
and potential health and environmental hazards. In Part II
of the course sequence, the students prepared and delivered
presentations based on peer-reviewed papers related to LCA
of nanomaterials. Some of the papers assigned by the instruc-
tor did not address LCA directly and the students were asked
to identify and comment on aspects of the paper relevant to
LCA. We also organized an in-class discussion regarding vi-
ability of nanobots following the Smalley-Drexler debate.136
The discussion was guided with specific questions that forced
the students to argue about the scientific merits of the ideas.

While no one single effective tool for assessing learning
and/or evaluating innovations in higher education exists,
a combination of several methods can be used to capture
data from both cognitive and affective domains and provide
unique information that bridges that of traditional assessment
tools, such as exams, quizzes, and student evaluations. Many
of these traditional assessment tools generally cover only a
narrow range of course content and are not well suited for
assessing higher-level understanding and skills. Ideally, an
efficient assessment tool should provide137]: (i) formative
assessments of student understanding; (ii) reliable, quantifi-
able data about student understanding; and (iii) data useful to
students' cognitive and meta-cognitive growth. In addition,
faculty should be able to use such a tool to evaluate their
effectiveness and the advantage of additions or changes to
existing curricula or programs.
The following two approaches were used to assess the
outcomes from the course sequence:

Evaluation via knowledge surveys: Knowledge surveys
consisted of numerous items that covered the full breadth
of course learning objectives and levels of understand-
ing. Students completed the survey at the beginning of
the first 2008 semester and at the end of each semester.
Surveys at the beginning of a course provided informa-
tion on students' background and preparation. During
the course, surveys became learning guides for the in-
structors, helping them make necessary adjustments on
both teaching style and exam format/content to improve
student learning.

Student course evaluation: In general, the focus of this
tool is on whether or not students are satisfied or dissat-
isfied with the entire course and/or individual modules.
While this is useful information, this process can also be
used to explore more complex and, perhaps more relevant

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

issues, such as what students are learning, what aspects
are more useful, what could be improved, etc.

Student enrollment: The two courses attracted a larger
number of students than originally expected. We also admitted
students who could not commit to the entire sequence of two
courses due to graduation and other scheduling conflicts (see
below). The latter had a negative impact on the number of stu-
dents providing feedback on the course sequence as a whole.
Further details on student enrollment are provided below.
PART I: Fall 2008 -A total of 19 students registered for the
fall course of the sequence. Enrolled students included eight
graduate and 11 undergraduate students. The graduate students
attracted by this offering were those conducting research on
different aspects of nanotechnology and all were environmen-
tal engineering majors. The undergraduate group included
four students from environmental engineering and seven from
chemical engineering. The first survey was administered at the

beginning of the fall semester to probe the initial background
knowledge of the students on the subject. The results of this
survey are presented in Figures 2 5 and discussed further
below in comparison with results obtained at different points
in time over the duration of the two semesters. Results from
this survey also showed that some students could not com-
plete the course sequence for different reasons, including (i)
Fall 2008 being their last semester prior to graduation, (ii)
course not required and would not fit in pre-established plan
of study, and (iii) not interested in the environmental aspects
of nanotechnology.

PART II: Spring 2009 At the start of the second semes-
ter, a total of 12 students registered for the course, with six
graduate and six undergraduate students. Only nine of these
students participated in surveys administered at either the
beginning or the end of the semester, however. Unlike the
first portion of the course in which only environmental and
chemical engineering students were enrolled, students from
electrical (1 undergraduate) and agriculture & biological (1

Students were asked to assess their own ability to address each of these aspects in solving unstructured problems.
Students' responses to these questions are summarized in Figure 5. Note that the category associated with each question was
not given to the students.
Question # Categories Questions
DI State the needs of the problem in clear and explicit terrs
Need recognition
D2 Recognize the needs to be addressed b) the problem
D3 List the performance requirements that a solution must satisfy
Problem definition
D4 Establish criteria for evaluating the quality of a solution
D5 Develop a solution strategy gi'en a model of the design process
D6 Divide a problem into manageable components or tasks
D7 Identify the knowledge and resources needed to develop a solution
Information gathering
D8 Ask probing questions to clarify facts, concepts, or relationships
D9 Describe procedures or techniques to search for and generate solutions
Idea generanon
D10 Generate possible alternauve solutions
D11 Modeling Select a mathematical model that can be used to characterize a solution
D12 Idenify the pros and cons of possible solutions
D13 Compare a set of soluuon altemames using a specified set of cnteria
D14 Feasibility analysis Analyze the feasibility of a solution
D15 Selection Select a soluuon that best satisfies the problem objectives
D16 Documentation Document your solution process
D17 Understand the different roles and responsibthiies of being an effective member
in a team
D18 Communication Resolve conflict and reach agreement in a group
D19 Identify the characteristics of effective communication
D20 Recognize when changes to the original understanding of the problem may be
D21 Iteration Suggest modifications or improvements to a final solution
D22 Develop strategies for monitoring and evaluating progress
D23 Implementation Build a protot)ope or final solution

'24 Chemical Engineering Education

graduate) engineering departments registered for the course
as well. Four out of nine students who participated in the
surveys during the spring semester (Part II) did not take Part
I of the course sequence.
Course objectives: Questions related to the general aspects
of the course sequence and students' responses at various
points during the sequence are shown in Figures 2 5 and
Table 3.
A. Properties of engineered nanomaterials and modeling
of nanoscale processes (Figure 2. page 123) These topics
were covered in Part I of the course sequence. Therefore,
the students who took only Part II had limited knowledge of
these topics. Hence, we focus on comparison of the students'
knowledge at the beginning and the end of the fall semester.
With the exception of question A4 (differences between
macro- and nano-scale transport processes), the results shown
in Figure 2a indicate clear knowledge improvement by the
end of the first semester. The most significant improvements
were observed in the students' understanding of the forces

O Beginning of Fall 2008
E End of Fall 2008
Ll End of Spring 2008
12 End of Spring 2008 (full sequence students)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Question number

, 5
1 2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Question Number

8 9 10

acting on nanostructures and manufacturing challenges, as
seen in Figure 2b.

B. Biological implications on engineered nanomaterials
(Figure 3) For this nanotoxicity component, 10 questions
were asked. Questions B6-B10, however, were limited to
surveys administered only at the beginning of the Fall 2008
semester and the end of the Spring 2009 semester (full course
sequence). Questions B1-B5 were asked in all four surveys.
The corresponding average scores graded on a 0 to 10 scale are
shown in Figure 3a. Overall, an increasing trend in knowledge
improvement was observed from the start to the end of the
fall semester. The observed improvement in questions B1,
B3, and B4 was related primarily to the introductory section
of the course with subsequent reinforcement of these ideas
during the discussion of ENM synthesis and integration. In
contrast, answers to questions B2 and B5, which were not
covered in the first course of the sequence, showed no knowl-
edge improvement. When scores obtained at the end of spring
semester are compared to scores recorded at the beginning of

B1. How would one combine chemical synthesis,
modeling, & toxicology to produce green ENMs?
B2. Discuss very briefly the potential for the release of
engineered nanomaterials to different
environmental compartments as they are processed
from cradle to grave.
B3. What properties of ENMs may affect their toxic
effects? Name as many properties as you can.
B4. Based on the size and physicochemical properties of
ENMs, could you list potential negative impacts of
ENMs on the environment?
B5. Why do we need to assess the environmental and
health impacts of ENMs separately from their bulk
counterparts In other words, why can't we simply
use knowledge of toxicity of bulk materials to
predict the toxicity of ENMs?
B6. What is environmental chemodynamics and how
does it apply to ENMs?
B7. What types of transformations ENMs might
undergo if released to the environment?
B8. Solvent partitioning has been used to predict the
potential for bioaccumulation and toxicity of
xenobiotics. What difficulties would you anticipate
from the use of solvent/water distribution in
assessing the potential for bioavailability and
toxicity of ENMs?
B9. What key factors affect toxicity measurements?
Name as many as you can.
B10. What could be the potential targets of ENMs in (i)
animal, (ii) plant, and (iii) microbial cells? Explain.

Figure 3. (a.) Average scores for answers related to the toxicity aspects of engineered nanomaterials. The grading scale
for these questions is 0 to 10. (b.) Score of each question at the end of the spring semester normalized to the beginning of
the sequence.
Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012 125


9 Beginning of Fall 2008 C1. Name the three stages of life cycle assessment
(LCA) development.
8 9 End of Spring 2009 C2. Select a specific nanomaterial and list the life cycle
7 stages of this ENM.
C3. Identify, even in general terms, the relevant inputs
6 and outputs of each life cycle stage.
0 5 C4. Identify the environmental impacts of interest and
co defend your selection.
4 C5. Identify the primary uncertainty of your LCA model
3 T for your selected nanomaterial.
C6. What would be the best software to use in
performing the LCA of your ENM? Explain why.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Question number

Figure 4. Average scores for answers on LCA questions. The grading scale for these questions is 0 to 10.

fall semester, a significant knowledge improvement
is observed as shown in Figure 3b.
C. Life-cycle assessment (Figure 4) -This section
of the course sequence offered the opportunity for
students to discuss the implications of nanotechnolo-
gy from a life cycle perspective. Students considered
the ethics of nanomaterials use, regulatory needs,
international policies on nanomaterial use, and best
practices for corporations in making decisions con-
cerning nano-products, with the ultimate challenge
of how to produce high-performance materials that
pose no risk to the environment or public health.
Only questions emphasizing knowledge of the basic
steps of the LCA approach and tools used in LCA
studies were asked in the survey administered at the
beginning of the fall semester and at the end of the
spring semester, however. These questions and the
average scores corresponding to correct answers
(graded on a 0 to 10 scale) are shown in Figure 4.
Unlike most physicochemical and biological
concepts that are familiar to engineering students,
LCA was a rather new topic to students enrolled in
this sequence of courses. In fact, besides the few
hours of LCA lectures as part of the general intro-
duction during fall semester, most students enrolled
in the course had no prior background in life cycle
assessment. Therefore, they did not know how this
discipline could be used to study the environmental
implications of materials from cradle to grave. Ac-
cordingly, students' answers to the above questions
were simply mere speculations and best guesses at
the beginning of the fall semester. Answers to the
same questions at the end of the course sequence
(Spring 2009) show a significant knowledge im-



8 3.5




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1213 14 15 1617 18 19 20 21 22 23
Question number

-~ ---
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Question Number

Figure 5. (a.) Average scores for the survey on solving unstruc-
tured problems. Since no significant differences between the
beginning and end of the fall semester were observed, only the
survey results for the end of the fall semester are shown in this
chart. The grading scale for these questions is 1 to 5. The ques-
tions are listed in Table 3. (b.) Score of each question at the end of
the spring semester normalized to the beginning of the sequence.

Chemical Engineering Education

Student comments taken from surveys and teaching
evaluations and the end of the course sequence.
Concepts covered in this class will be used in future
research endeavors (9 votes out of 9)
Have been inspired to dig deeper into the concepts
learned in this course sequence (9 votes out of 9)
8 The overall content of the class can be considered
"Good" (5 votes) to "Very Good" (4 votes).
S"I learned the most from the take home tests and pre-
W sentations. These were excellent ways to understand the
materials. But this was a great class! I learned a lot and
am very glad to have taken it."
"The instructors need to improve the integration of
course materials to make it more concise and fluid,
especially in Part 1 of the course. Make sure that the big
S picture is not lost."
"Part I of the course needs room for a learning curve
on homework sets."
"A better integration of environmental and chemical
concepts is needed. This could be achieved by a 'step-
3. up'program, which provides a quick overview of the
relevant concepts to build a common foundation for all,
r. regardless of student initial background."
"Need to have more class resources (books, etc.). The
textbook used in Part I should be replaced."

provement, however. This net separation between the fall
and spring can be explained by at least two factors. First, as
stated above, most students enrolled in this course had very
little to no prior knowledge of LCA. Second, this portion of
the course was well-received by students for its integrative
capacity, and the group projects allowed for interactive and
hands-on activities that developed problem-solving skills.
D. Solving unstructured problems (Figure 5) A total of
23 questions was asked about various aspects of working on
unstructured problems in groups. The questions were asked
at the beginning of the Fall 2008 semester and at the end of
the fall and spring semesters. The questions are divided into
various design attributes, as described by Safoutin, et al.1381
The questions are shown in Table 3 and the corresponding
average scores graded on a 1 to 5 scale are shown in Figure
5a, where 1 = Poor, 2 = Fair, 3 = Good, 4 = Very good, and
5 = Excellent.
The results show no significant differences between the
beginning and end of the fall semester (not shown). This
might have been expected since the unstructured group activi-
ties were largely part of the Spring 2009 semester. Figure 5
shows comparative trends of students' scores with regard to
their ability to adequately address various attributes of solving
unstructured problems at the end of each of the two semesters.
Overall, the students felt better prepared to handle unstruc-
tured problems at the end of the sequence (Spring 2009). As
shown in Figure 5b, the largest improvements are observed

in the need recognition (D2), problem definition (D3), in-
formation gathering (D7 D8), modeling (D11), evaluation
(D 13), selection (D15), and implementation (D23) attributes.
The smallest changes were observed in the documentation
(D 16), communication (D17 D19), and iteration (D20, D22)
processes, although the students were already confident in
their ability to communicate. Interestingly, the students were
clearly not confident with modeling a solution to a problem
(D11) in the beginning. The students were more confident at
the end of the sequence but this attribute of solving unstruc-
tured problems clearly remains lower than other attributes.

The ultimate goal of this course development was to in-
crease the awareness of engineering undergraduates to the life
cycle stages of nanomaterials and of the importance of con-
sidering engineering design impact on the environment and
public health during the design stage of processes and products
incorporating nanotechnologies. The initial offering of the two
courses led us to believe that our comprehensive approach
to incorporating a life cycle assessment of nanotechnology
into the engineering undergraduate curriculum has been well
received by students. Table 4 shows some example comments
and recommendations taken from the surveys and teaching
evaluations during the spring semester. The students clearly
enjoyed the topics covered in the course sequence. Students
sometimes had difficulties making connections between the
various parts of the course sequence, however. This sentiment
is probably best reflected in the recommendation for a "step-
up" program, which would provide tutorial sessions in areas
where students had deficiencies in the course. For example,
environmental engineering students would likely benefit from
tutorials on transport, kinetics, and calculus while chemi-
cal engineering students may require sessions on analytical
chemistry and biology. The instructors did find it difficult at
times to balance the depth of the course material to the varied
background of students from different disciplines. Therefore,
we would recommend that a "step-up" program be included
to establish better baseline knowledge for all students.
Further details on this course sequence, including slides for
lectures, references to supplemental literature, and assign-
ments, can be found at the course website,>.

The authors acknowledge the National Science Foundation
(DUE-0633185) for financial support.

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Chemical Engineering Education

M curriculum




Salus Scio Risk Management, PLLC Champaign, IL 61812

his paper has two sections: the first provides a brief
history of the new ABET process safety requirements;
the second describes a SAChE Product that has been
prepared to help departments meet and document these
process safety requirements through their senior capstone
design project. The paper concludes with a summary of how
departments can combine SAChE products and the SAChE
Safety Certificate Program to effectively teach fundamental
process safety awareness to undergraduates.

For the last two decades, industrial and academic process
safety experts have been creating products describing many
of the fundamental process safety risk-reduction concepts.
These products are free to chemical engineering department
students and instructors through AIChE's "Safety and Chemi-
cal Engineering Education (SAChE)" Program. SAChE was
formed in 1992 as AIChE's link between industrial process
safety experts in the Center for Chemical Process Safety
(CCPS) and universities. The SAChE website contains more
than 100 process safety-related products to assist instructors.11
In addition, SAChE program members also organize faculty
workshops that help share best industrial practices with aca-
demic instructors.12]

Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

In 2007, the fatal explosion at the T2 Laboratories, Inc.,
triggered an investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board
(CSB) and resulted in several findings.[31 One of these findings
included the following statement:
Chemical engineer (part owner) killed because of lack of
proper understanding of reactive chemistry hazards and
process safety and risk reduction design.
As a result of their investigation, the CSB recommended
to the AIChE:
"Work with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and
Technology, Inc., (ABET) to add reactive hazard awareness
to baccalaureate chemical engineering curricula require-

Bruce K. Vaughen, principal, Salus Scio Risk
Management, PLLC, is currently the Global
Process Safety Management (PSM) leader
for Cabot Corporation's Fumed Metal Oxide
division. He spent 17 years in a variety of
roles in research, engineering, and PSM at
DuPont before teaching courses as a visiting
assistant professor in chemical engineering
at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in
Terre Haute, IN (2007-08). He earned his
degrees at the University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor, MI (B.S. chemical engineering) and
at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN (M.S.
and Ph.D., both in chemical engineering) and is a registered Profes-
sional Engineer (RE.).

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

AIChE/SAChE Guidelines for Teaching Safety and
1 The graduate must understand the importance of process
safety and the resources and commitment required. This
should include the important incidents that define process
safety, and how these incidents affected the practice of
chemical engineering.
2 The graduate must be able to characterize the hazards asso-
ciated with chemicals and other agents. This must include
toxic, flammable, and reactive hazards.
3 The graduate must understand and be able to apply con-
cepts of inherently safer design.
4 The graduate must understand how to control and mitigate
hazards to prevent accidents. This should include gener-
ally accepted management systems, plant procedures, and
designs to prevent accidents.
5 The graduate should be familiar with the major regulations
that impact the safety of chemical plants.
6 The graduate should understand the consequences of
chemical plant incidents due to acute and chronic chemical
releases and exposures.
7 The graduate should be reasonably proficient with at least
one hazard-identification procedure.
8 The graduate should have an introduction to the process
for hazard evaluations and risk.

Since the report, AIChE has developed and proposed guide-
lines to ABET for teaching safety to undergraduates. These
guidelines are shown in Table 1.
This paper presents the basic concepts for a SAChE Prod-
uct that provides guidance to engineering design teams to
help them meet the combined process safety guidelines of
both academia and industry.[451 A department can "prove"
its process safety awareness efforts for an ABET auditor by
documenting its efforts in the senior capstone design report.
This approach, described in this product, will help ensure that
students graduate with, at minimum, an awareness of the dif-
ferent hazards analysis techniques that must be used when they
design their risk-reduction controls, preventing irreversible
life-changing process-related incidents from affecting them
or their coworkers.
Please recognize the distinction between "process safety"
and "personal safety." Process safety requires a thorough
hazards evaluation that identifies and controls all potential
risks associated with a chemical process. The consequences
of these process hazards, such as runaway reactions, toxic
releases, fires or explosions, must be understood and reduced
as much as is practical through adequate process design-this
is known as the "first line of defense." On the other hand,
personal health and safety may require students in a unit
operations laboratory to wear personal protective equipment
(PPE), such as safety glasses, hard hats, and gloves. PPE is
required to address any residual risks associated with the
chemical process-the PPE is the "last line of defense."

Figure 1. The Design Project Road Map.

The SAChE product, "Safety Guidance for Design Proj-
ects," combines the steps in a senior design project (the basis)
with the AIChE Process Safety Guidelines and the principles
of Process Safety Management (PSM). As is shown in the
"Road Map" in Figure 1, the design team's project has 10
basic steps:
1. Define Project

2. Research Technologies
3. Understand Risk

4. Understand Process Safety
5. Understand Risk Reduction Strategies

6. Hazards Evaluation
7. Evaluate Options

8. Select Final Design
9. Understand Facility Siting

10. Write Final Report

Chemical Engineering Education

The flow of the blocks noted in Figure 1 helps the design
team organize their efforts to meet their academic and indus-
trial process safety requirements, including references to the
industry's basic principles of Process Safety Management
The connections between the process safety Guidelines
listed in Table 1 and the Road Map in Figure 1 are shown in
Table 2. The steps shown in Figure 1 that are focused on safety
include steps 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9. These process safety-related
steps are described in more detail below.
The SAChE Product provides guidance for engineering
design teams to help them meet the combined process safety

requirements of education and industry.t41 It can be used by
professors, industrial trainers, and students who are working
on a process design project, as well.
The Product includes:
1. An Overview document written to assist the instructor on
how to use the module,

2. A PowerPoint presentation (the module), and

3. Handouts that are used with the PowerPoint presenta-

The presentation begins with a brief description of the T2
accident that was the genesis of the CSB recommendation

The Design Project Steps Linked to the AIChE/SAChE/ABET Guidelines
Design Project Steps Description of Project Steps (with referenced AIChE/SAChE/ABET guidelines-see Table 1.
1 Define Project Project Proposal must have clear understanding of objectives and business case (what is the benefit of mak-
ing this product?) Will it make a profit? Must be clearly written and understood by all Team members.
2 Research Technologies Research and locate potential technology options that will meet project goals. (Literature review) Establish
high-cut types of Process Safety Information (see step 4 below)
3 Understand Risk The graduate should have an introduction to the process for hazard evaluations and risk assessments [Guide-
line 8].
4 Understand Process a. The graduate must be able to characterize the hazards associated with chemicals and other agents. This
Safety must include toxic, flammable, and reactive hazards [Guideline 2]. Understand Process Safety Information
(PSI) required to manufacture product. Includes basic description of Hazards of Materials, Process Design
Technology and Equipment Design Technology [part of Guideline 2].
b. The graduate should understand the consequences of chemical plant incidents due to acute and chronic
chemical releases and exposures [Guideline 6].
c. The graduate must understand the importance of process safety and the resources and commitment
required. This should include the important incidents that define process safety, and how these incidents af-
fected the practice of chemical engineering [Guideline 1].
d. The graduate should be familiar with the major regulations that impact the safety of chemical plants
[Guideline 5].
5 Understand Risk Re- a. The graduate must understand how to control and mitigate hazards to prevent accidents. This should in-
duction Strategies elude generally accepted management systems, plant procedures and designs to prevent accidents [Guideline
a. Understand Engi- 4].
neering and Adminis- b. Reduce the Frequency as much as is practical. Note for US Design Project Steps (Road Map) Description
trative Controls of Project Steps [with referenced AIChE/SAChE/ABET Guidelines see Table 1] Required for OSHA PSM
b. Understand Inher- [parts of Guidelines 4 and 5].
ently Safer Design c. The graduate must understand and be able to apply concepts of inherently safer design [Guideline 3].
c. Understand Human d. Improve the "Human Factors" term in the risk equation ("Operating Discipline," "Conduct of Opera-
Factors tions," etc.) improvement in human factors will reduce risk. Note for US Required for OSHA PSM [part of
Guideline 5].
6 Hazards Evaluation The graduate should be reasonably proficient with at least one hazard identification procedure [Guideline 7].
7 Evaluate Options Evaluate overall risk associated with chosen technologies (effect of safety, health, environmental and busi-
ness) to select final design project. Perform a risk gap analysis.
8 Select Final Design Must define final Process Safety Information (PSI) required to manufacture product. Includes Hazards of
Materials, Process Design Technology and Equipment Design Technology. Analyze Cost / Benefit for Final
9 Understand Facility Must understand impact on personnel and communities. The difficulty for a design project is that design
Siting concepts do not have a site layout. An option for Design Team could be to identify a part of their hazardous
process (if any), propose a site layout and then define their worst case scenario using a facility siting hazards
analysis checklist. Note for US This analysis is required for OSHA's PSM standard (29 CFR 1910.119) and
is essential for the EPA's Risk Management Plan (RMP) [Guideline 5].
10 Write Final Report Use a report template. Note that a chapter could be included to address findings discovered later that could af-
fect the final choice (such as "Directions for Future Efforts" an important chapter when deadlines approach)

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012 131

to AIChE and ABET. The design project "Road Map" is
presented next, helping the design team visualize how the ele-
ments of Process Safety Management (PSM) used in industry
are incorporated into their project.
The handouts include four tables. Table 1 describes the
AIChE/SAChE/ABET proposed process safety guidelines;
Table 2 compares the steps in a design project that meet part
of the process safety guidelines. Note that the team's final
written design report helps departments document that their
students meet the AIChE/SAChE process safety guidelines.
Specific SAChE products and SAChE Safety Certificates are
referenced in Tables 3 and 4 to point the student to additional
resources for learning and understanding how to develop a
safe design.
The product helps describe the process safety-related steps
shown Figure 1:

Step 3: Understanding Risk. The module starts with a
definition of risk and includes an example of a risk matrix.
The matrix consists of frequency term and a consequence
term. The term "unacceptable risk," with its high frequency

and high consequence is compared to the term "acceptable
risk," with its correspondingly low frequency and low con-
sequence. Each team must establish its own risk tolerance
levels before proceeding with its analysis -just like any
business must do before allocating resources to reduce its
process safety-related risks.

Step 4: Understanding Process Safety. The types of process
safety hazards are:fires, explosions, runaway reactions,
and toxic releases. A simplified PSM definition is included
in the SAChE PowerPoint charts. PSM's goals are to reduce
the process safety risk to people, the environment, and the

Step 5: Risk-Reduction Strategy. The risk-reduction
strategies include lowering the expected frequency with
engineering or administrative controls and/or lowering the
consequence with inherently safer designs. Engineering
design considerations include alarms and interlocks (safety
instrumented systems, or SIS). Administrative controls
include written operating procedures. Inherently safer
design considerations (especially crucial at this point!)
include,for example, less hazardous materials or reduced
processing temperature or pressure extremes. Consequence

SAChE Products Linked to Design Project Steps (Online via
Design Project Step SAChE Product (Development year via
1. Define Project The Product described in this paper:
a. Safety Guidance in Design Projects (2011) These Products help with Steps 3,4, 5, 6 and 9 below:
b. A Process Safety Management Overview (2012)
c. Conservation of Life: Application of Process Safety Management (2012)
2. Research Technologies
3. Understand Risk a. Risk Assessment (2008)
b. Green Engineering Tutorial (2004)
c. Project Risk Analysis (2009)
d. Understanding Atmospheric Dispersions of Accidental Releases CCPS book (2010)
e. Dow Fire and Explosion Index (F&EI) and Chemical Exposure Index (CEI) Software (2011)
4. Understand Process Safety a. Chemical Process Safety (2006)
b. Seminar on Fires (2009)
c. Explosions (2009)
d. Dust Explosion Control (2006)
e. Chemical Reactivity Hazards (2005)
f. Properties of Materials (2007)
g. Fire Protection Concepts (2010)
h. Introduction to Biosafety (2005)
5. Understand Risk Reduction a. Runaway Reactions Experimental Characterizations (2005)
Strategies b. Design for Overpressure and Underpressure Protection (2006)
c. Safety Valves: Practical Design Practices for Relief Valve Sizing (2003)
d. Compressible and Two-Phase Flow with Applications Including Relief System Sizing (2011)
e. Inherent Safety (2006)
f. Fundamentals of Chemical Transportation with Case Histories (2012)
6. Hazards Evaluation a. Layers of Protection Analysis (2011) b. Static Electricity as an Ignition Source (2008) c. Process Hazard
Analysis (2009)
7. Evaluate Options Inherently Safer Design Conflicts and Decisions (2008)
8. Select Final Design Risk
9. Understand Facility Siting
10. Write Final Report Improving Communication Skills (2004)
Includes Oral Presentations

'32 Chemical Engineering Education

reduction strategies could include quick detection of the
potential event and a quick emergency response, such as
smoke detectors, sprinklers, and then immediate action by
an emergency response team.
NOTE: The important operational discipline (OD) concepts
must be considered when applying risk evaluations in
industry. For example: If people do not follow the process
safety "rules" (i.e., operating procedures, equipment codes
or standards, or maintenance and reliability programs,
etc.), then their risk is larger since their OD is less than 1
(where 1 equals perfect compliance to OD). This is shown
in a "perceived risk" vs. "actual risk" chart when there is
poor OD.
Step 6: The Hazards Evaluation. The elements of Process
Safety Management (PSM) are briefly discussed in the mod-
ule, with particular focus on reinforcing the importance of
the Process Safety Information (PSI) and Process Hazards
Analysis (PHA) elements and their considerations in the
design process.
Step 9: Facility Siting. Please refer to more details of
Facility Siting, which is industrially significant, in the notes
written in Table 2, Step 9.

The Product concludes by reminding the students of the
process safety-related steps in the design team's project
Road Map chart. The final two charts were influenced by the
Deepwater Horizon disaster in early 2010 (the time when
this Product was being prepared). Hopefully the students
will understand: Although we have made progress in process
safety, we still have work to do.

Fatalities, such as those that occurred at the T2 Laboratory
in 2007, could have been avoided with better understand-
ing and implementation of the elements of Process Safety
Management (PSM). Significant advances in industry have
helped engineers reduce process safety risks with better de-
sign-related tools for understanding, analyzing, designing,
and controlling hazardous processes. The SAChE Product
described in this paper helps bridge a gap between universi-
ties and industry in process safety-related awareness and
education. The SAChE product provides a Road Map (a
framework) for organizing the existing SAChE products,
combining the requirements of the design project with the

PSM principles. The product can be used to improve the
awareness of the PSM-related resources and techniques,
with particular emphasis on locating the SAChE products
that have been designed to be integrated within the chemical
engineering curriculum. Using this Product will help ensure
that students graduate with, at minimum, an awareness of
different hazards analysis techniques that must be used when
they design their risk-reduction controls.
A brief note on future efforts: These process safety-related
education/design efforts described in this paper focus on the
traditional studies of material and energy balances-conserv-
ing mass and energy. Industrial application of process safety
requires two more concepts, however:
"Operational Discipline" and the "conservation of life."6,8/s
These additional concepts help us achieve AIChE's first
principle in our "Code of Ethics" [underlined below, 9]:
"Members of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
shall uphold and advance the integrity, honor and dignity of
the engineering profession by:,
Being honest and impartial and serving with fidelity their
employers, their clients, and the public;
Striving to increase the competence and prestige of the
engineering profession;
Using their knowledge and skillfor the enhancement of
human welfare.
To achieve these goals, members shall:
Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the
public and protect the environment in performance of
their professional duties."

Expect to read more about how we will continue to meet
this principle in the future.

1. Safety and Chemical Engineering Education Program (SAChE),>
2. Safety and Chemical Engineering Education Program (SAChE),
Faculty Workshops: . Examples of
presentations from the SAChE Faculty Workshop in Baytown, TX,
in August, 2010 include these presentations: 2.1 Schneider, R., "SA-
ChE: What Exactly Is It and How Can It Help You?"; 2.2 Cox, K.R.,
"Process Safety in the Classroom"; 2.3 Chosnek, J., "Process Safety
and Chemical Engineering Design"; 2.4 Edwards, V.E., "Develop and

SAChE Safety Certificates Linked to the Design Project Steps (Online via
Design Project Step SAChE Product (Year via
3. Understand Risk Risk Assessment (2008)
4. Understand Process Safety a. Safety in the Process Industries (2008)
b. Chemical Reactivity Hazards (2008)
c. Runaway Reactions (2008)
d. Dust Explosion Control (2010)
e. Process Safety 101 (2010)
5. Understand Risk Reduction Strategies Inherently Safer Design (2009)

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012 13:

Design Inherently Safer Process Plants"
3. ; The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard In-
vestigation Board (CSB) Investigation Report: "T2 Laboratories Inc.
Reactive Chemical Explosion, Jacksonville, FL, Dec. 19,2007"
4. Vaughen, B.K., "Safety Guidance for Design Projects," Safety and
Chemical Engineering Education Program (SaChE), Product issued
in 2011,
5. Vaughen, BK., "A SAChE Module Designed to Bridge Process Safety's
Troubled Waters: Meeting the NewAcademic Process Safety Requirements,"
the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) 2010 Annual Meet-
ing, Education Division, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 2010
6. Klein, J.A., and B.K. Vaughen, "Implementing an Operational Disci-

pline Program to Improve Plant Process Safety," Chemical Engineering
Progress, The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), June
2011, pp. 48-52
7. Vaughen, B.K., and J.A. Klein, "Improving Operational Discipline
to Prevent Loss of Containment Incidents," Process Safety Progress,
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE), in press,
published online in Wiley Online Library ():
DOI 10.1002/prs.10430
8. Klein, J., "Conservation of Life: Application of Process Safety
Management," Safety and Chemical Engineering Education Program
(SAChE), Product issued in 2012, ( org/products.asp>)
9. American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) 3 Park Avenue,
New York 0

Chemical Engineering Education

e1=1 learning

PBL: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of



McMaster University Hamilton ON, Canada
The acronym PBL has been used to describe a wide
range of different educational interventions. At one
end of the spectrum is the original or authentic ver-
sion developed at McMaster University medical school in
the 1960s,[11 which Barrows[2, 3] called aPBL. Barrows[41
distinguishes among some of the different versions of what
one might refer to as "problem-based learning" based on
1) the outcomes, 2) the style of the problem presentation,
and 3) the interaction and responsibilities of the teacher and
the students. The outcomes he lists are: learning and using
new knowledge, structuring the knowledge for use in future
professional contexts, increased motivation for learning, and
developing effective reasoning, problem-solving skills with
the guidance of the tutor, team skills, skills in self-assessment,
lifelong learning skills, and teaching skills. In aPBL the
focus is on empowering the students with the learning pro-
cess. Given a problem, students realize they don't know key
knowledge, they contract with each other that different team
members will learn new knowledge and return to the group
and teach all the members the new knowledge. This medi-
cal school approach empowers the student with the learning
process and has the following attributes:1, 3,5-7] small group
(4 to 8 students), self-directed, self-assessed, interdependent
problem-based learning. Self-directed means that, for the
professionally significant problem, the students decide what
they know already, what they need to know, receive approval
from the tutor that their learning objectives are appropriate,
contract with each other, research and prepare teach notes,
teach, and assess the knowledge learned and problem solved.
The faculty do not lecture; faculty are tutors. All students are
responsible for learning all the new knowledge. aPBL is used
Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

for two different outcomes that Schmidt et al.17' calls Type
I and Type II. The outcome for Type I aPBL is knowledge
acquisition. For Type II, the outcomes are acquisition of both
knowledge and clinical skills.[8,9]
At the other end of the spectrum is problem-based synthesis,
sometimes called project-based learning. In this model students
are asked to use previously learned knowledge to solve a prob-
lem. Samson University101 uses a variation of problem-based
synthesis where a problem is posed, the teacher lectures on the
knowledge needed and then the students apply the knowledge.
In this option, faculty lecture to set the context, and supply
information and background material.101 Versions of this
lecture-style problem-/project-based learning are described by
Kolmos et al."] Design projects are another example of prob-
lem-based synthesis. Here the students have already learned
the fundamentals needed to solve the project. If the students
need to learn additional knowledge to solve the project, they
usually divvy up the parts of the project. Each learns the new
knowledge needed to solve his/her part of the project. The other

Donald R. Woods is professor emeritus of
Chemical Engineering at McMaster Univer-
sity. His research interests are in process
design, cost estimation, surface phenomena,
problem-based learning, assessment, improv-
ing student learning, and developing skill in
problem solving, troubleshooting, teamwork,
self-assessment, change management, and
lifetime learning. He has won numerous
awards for leadership and teaching and is
author/coauthor of more than a dozen books
including Problem-based Learning; How to
Gain the Most from PBL
Copyright ChE Division of ASEE 2012

members of the team rarely learn the knowledge acquired by
the other members of the team, however. "Project-based must
not be confused with problem-based. The former is designed
to reinforce what has already been taught and demonstrate the
relevance of knowledge. PBL (problem-based learning) poses
a problem that is set before the knowledge has been acquired,
and the problem causes the students to acquire the knowledge
they need to complete the task."1'12 Mills and Treagust"13 also
distinguish between problem-based and project-based experi-
ences. The outcomes, the knowledge learned and the overall
learning experience are different.
To evaluate the effectiveness of any learning environment,
for clarity, we must study comparable educational interven-
tions. Hence, articles describing learning that the authors
call PBL but from their description are using problem-based
synthesis, hybrid PBL, problem-assisted learning or project-
based learning are not included in this analysis.
With a focus on aPBL, and this form alone, we review the
literature in engineering and medical fields of the effective-
ness of aPBL.

The effectiveness of aPBL, compared to traditional lec-
tures, has been reported for 12 claims. Some researchers
used measures of performance; others used questionnaires
about perceptions.
Comparable subject knowledge acquisition. Performance
on exams has been used to determine differences in knowl-
edge acquisition between students in aPBL and in conven-
tional lecture-style instruction. Some of the earlier analyses
of aPBL reported that marks in the subject knowledge of
medical doctors, MDs, on the National Board Medical Ex-
aminers I, NBME I, (which tests factual knowledge) were
statistically significantly lower than marks obtained by MDs
from the traditional programs.14, 15] Dochy et al.,[6] however,
recently reconsidered that research in the medical area, and
added more recent studies. They concluded that the marks
by students in the aPBL programs were as good if not better,
but not significantly so, than those obtained by graduates
of the conventional programs. Schmidt et al.[71 in medicine,
Mehta,[161 in a Mechanical Measurements course, and Mantri
et al.,1171 for an externally set subject knowledge exam in a
course in digital electronics, found no significant difference
between marks of aPBL students and students in traditional
courses. Mantri et al.[171 found that aPBL marks on internally
set subject knowledge exams were statistically significantly
better than traditionally educated students.
Improved clinical or troubleshooting skills. For Type II
aPBL, clinical skills for graduates of the aPBL program were
statistically superior to those graduating from the conven-
tional program as measured by graduate's performance on
four measures: NBME II, cases, simulations, and Modified

Essay Questions.[6"14, 15 For engineering students the skill is
troubleshooting. Mantri et al.1171 found that the aPBL marks
on a troubleshooting task on a circuit were statistically signifi-
cantly better than lecture-based. In summary, for Type II aPBL
where clinical skill development was explicitly built into the
experience, statistically significant performance occurred.
Deep learning instead of surface learning. Students have
preferred styles of learning. Deep learners search for meaning
in what they are learning. Surface or rote learners ask "tell me
what to learn and I'll learn it." Strategic learners will adapt
their style of learning to the expectations of the course. Stu-
dents who are given lectures throughout their college years
show an increase in surface learning. They may enter univer-
sities with a preference for deep learning but that preference
decreases and surface learning increases attributed mainly to
their lecture experience. On the other hand, students experi-
encing aPBL show the opposite. Their initial use of surface
learning decreases and their use of deep learning increases.
[18-21] Indeed, there is a statistically significant increase in deep
learning as measured by pre- and post tests using the Lancaster
Approaches to Studying Questionnaire.[20-24]
High-quality learning environment. Ramsden and En-
wistlel231 found the key factors in learning environments that
promote deep instead of rote learning include good teaching,
openness to students, the clarity of the goals and assessment,
student's freedom in learning, the vocational relevance of
the course, and the social climate. The negative factors are
the workload and the degree of formal didactic lectures.
These factors are used in the Course Perceptions Question-
naire, CPQ,[21-24] or sometimes called the Course Experience
Questionnaire. The CPQ has been used as input for funding
decisions by Higher Education Funding Agencies in Austra-
lia since the mid-1980s.[25,26] For conventional lectures, the
CPQ is about 18 to 23 with student/control-centred ratio < 1.
For aPBL, CPQ values are usually between 30 and 45 with
student/control-centred ratio > 1 (often 2 to 4).[23] A percep-
tion survey of over 20,000 Dutch students showed that aPBL
students rated the quality of the learning environment superior
especially in providing independent study, critical thinking,
coherence of content, and preparation for the profession.[7 In
aPBL the students feel more supported, less stress, and less
alienation than students in conventional programs.'17
Knowledge retention higher. We want our graduates to
retain the knowledge they learn. Long term (2- to 4-year)
knowledge retention was statistically significantly higher
from students in aPBL programs compared with those from
conventional program.16,7,27'29-32' Martenson et al.[291 reported
60% higher long-term retention after 2 to 4 1/2 years for gradu-
ates from aPBL over graduates from conventional MD pro-
grams. The aPBL students recalled five times more concepts
than did students in conventional programs.130' Confirming
evidence from other researchers is summarized by Norman
and Schmidt[31' and by Hung, Jonassen, and Liu.1321

Chemical Engineering Education

Improved data-gathering skills. Such medical skills as
blood pressure measurement, abdominal examination, and
resuscitation were superior for students from aPBL compared
with students from conventional programs. [7
Improved efficiency in the graduation rates and fewer
dropouts. Schmidt et al.1'7 report data about the time taken to
complete the degree and those who dropped out of the pro-
gram. They determined aPBL provides faster completion of
the program for larger numbers of students, and fewer students
drop out of the program. For example, 64% of students in the
aPBL medical program graduated on time compared to 0%
of the students in conventional medical
programs in the Netherlands .[7]
In aPBL ti
Career skills developed: communica-
tion,problem solving, team, confidence, einpowerin
lifelong learning. When the aPBL ex-
perience is compared with conventional With the 1
lectures, statistically significant improve- cess. Give
ments are noted for problem solving,'"1020'
team skills,[7,10,33] confidence,1341 interper- students
sonal skills,17' and life-long learning.[20,27] don't kno
Most of these studies used questionnaires
to measure perceptions. The instruments edge, they
used to measure change in performance each other
included Heppner's PSI,[20] Billings- eac o
Moos,[20] Perry inventory,[20] and Shin et team miem
al.1271 (for life-long learning). Schmidt et
al.[28] reported that graduates of the aPBL new kno
school rated themselves as having much return to t
better interpersonal skills; better compe-
tencies in problem solving, self-directed teach all
learning, and information gathering; and the new
somewhat better task-supporting skills,
such as the ability to work and plan
efficiently-compared to self-rating of
students from a conventional program.
For the retention of skills acquired, first-year students at The
University of Guelph101 experienced a course run as aPBL,
seminar, or lecture. In their third year, students from aPBL
and the seminar course completed questionnaires about their
skills that they retained. Those from aPBL rated their skills
to be far superior, compared with those who had experienced
the seminar-style course. A statistical analysis was not done.
Motivation higher. Student motivation, as measured by
student response to learning environments, was statistically
significantly higher for students in the aPBL program com-
pared with those in conventional programs.[27,33]
Exit surveys and alumni: positive. Surveys and written
feedback from graduates, alumni, and employers provide
softer, yet nevertheless useful evidence. One useful survey
has been the Queen's University's Exit Survey.t24'35] On this
survey, students from McMaster's Chemical Engineering

problem-solving-aPBL program rated problem solving, com-
munication, and critical thinking as important skills that were
developed in our program. Regrettably, life-long learning was
not included in the original Queen's exit survey. McMaster
also developed its own survey asking graduates to identify
the most useful experience or courses. The results were that
58% identified the problem-solving aPBL sequence of courses
as contributing to their career success.[34] Other courses or
experiences cited were 25% "engineering fundamentals" and
10% project work.
The following two claims have, to my knowledge, no direct
supporting research evidence, although
they might be inferred from the forego-
'ocus is on ing evidence.
he students Knowledge structure in long-term
memory, LTM. Because new knowledge
iling pro- is learned in the context of solving a prac-
Sptical problem, Schmidt[36'37] suggests that
problem, the newly acquired knowledge will be
llize they hierarchically cued and structured com-
pared with rather random unstructured
ey knowl- storage in LTM that occurs in conven-
ztract with tional learning environments. Schmidt
et al .7] report that the aPBL students had
it different much better integration of the knowledge
s will learn learned, but there is no clear evidence
about structure. Barrows gives examples
'dge and of structure in the medical field.'91 The
gr n importance of such structure for recall
group an and problem solving is emphasized by
members Larkin.381
owledge. Improved learning. aPBL includes
most characteristics to improve learning.
Chickering & Gamsont391 in their classic
paper noted seven characteristics of ef-

fective learning environments: expect student success, strong
teacher-student interaction, active, cooperative, prompt feed-
back, clear time-on-task, and accounts for different student
learning styles. All are provided by aPBL with the exception
of explicitly emphasizing expecting student success. Tutored
groups provide strong teacher-student interaction, although
tutorless groups do not explicitly.
In summary, evidence about the effectiveness of aPBL,
compared with traditional lectures, was listed. Now consider
the issues and steps to be addressed to implement aPBL.

The ABET accreditation criteria introduced in 2000 list
11 Criterion 3 outcomes for engineering programs.40' Felder
and Brentt411 suggest that "the instructional method known
as problem-based learning (PBL) can easily be adapted to
address all 11 outcomes of Criterion 3. Once problem-based
learning has been adopted in a course, very little additional

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

g tl
in a

work must be done to address all of Outcomes 3a-3k." They
provide detailed suggestions in Appendix D of the excellent
paper.'411 Their description of PBL would include aPBL.
In 1982 the McMaster Chemical Engineering Department
implemented aPBL via tutorless, autonomous groups in the
context of classes with 30 to 70 students and one instructor.
To prepare students for aPBL, in the sophomore year they had
one required, workshop-style course to develop the students'
skill and confidence in those prerequisite skills needed for
tutorless groups. Two required courses in the junior year
developed more required skills. Then aPBL was used in
one senior course that included engineering economics. The
knowledge learned included interest
and depreciation, investment, money
flow in a company, financial attrac- The stud
tiveness and capital and operating waS So posil
cost estimation. Typically we formerly
used four weeks of lectures/tutorials of lean
to "cover" this material. We replaced
the lecture class time with aPBL and at studentn
considered one case each week. In ad-
dition to the students' self-assessment we replace
of the subject knowledge gained, fac- of traditional
ulty judged the students' performance
on written exams on this topic to be aPBL in a
as good as previous years when they
"learned" the material from conven- course o0
tional lectures, although we did not
do a rigorous statistical analysis. An process
alumni survey praised this approach
and neither alumni nor employers sug-
gested any deficiency in subject knowledge.[20,341 The student
response was so positive to this way of learning, that, at their
insistence, we replaced three weeks of traditional lectures
with aPBL in a junior-level course on safety and process
analysis. Details are available.[20,42-491 Based on this experi-
ence, plus that gained from giving numerous workshops on
aPBL in different cultures, contexts, and subjects (English,
Geography, Civil Engineering, Policing, Nursing) here are
the initial implementation issue to address and the seven key
decisions to make.

1. Initial Decision: Tutored or tutorless Groups
A major initial issue is tutored vs. tutorless groups.[48 In
my experience, if there is one instructor and a class of more
than 20, then tutorless groups is the preferred option.[43l] If
the whole department or program is going aPBL, so that one
faculty member can be a tutor for each group of five to eight
students, then tutored aPBL is probably the best choice.[48] This
tutored approach is described most extensively by Barrows,'
31 and Schmidt.[7'31,36,37] An intermediate approach uses one
instructor and a "large class." The tutor circulates and, almost
in a Guided Designtso0 approach, facilitates all the groups
concurrently. A disadvantage to this approach is that groups

inevitably complete tasks at different times. This forces all
the groups to follow the same timeframe. This option is not
discussed in this paper. Another option is to provide guided
questions,511 which seems to be similar to the method used
in Guided Design.
Whether the groups are tutored or tutorless affects three
things, a) major student concerns, b) the possibility of includ-
ing skill development (Schmidt's type II aPBL), and c) the
problem format. Student concerns: Students in tutored and
tutorless groups have different concerns. For the tutorless
groups the major concerns relate to reliable student participa-
tion (all are not seen as pulling their weight, attendance, lack
of trust, lack of cohesive goals, and
hesitant to engage in accountability
response activities)..44 The presence of a tutor,

to this way by and large, eliminates this type of
concern.E44 For tutorless groups, one
g, that, approach to address the main concern
in tutorless groups, namely, individu-
nsistence, als contributing their share, is to use
Sself- and peer assessment.146,471
three weeks






n s1


Skill development outcomes: for
ectures with tutored groups, besides the subject
knowledge acquisition (type I aPBL),
nior-level the program outcomes may include
S a the development of skills specific to
fety and the profession (type II aPBL). For
Dialysis. engineers, troubleshooting, product or
process design, and process improve-
ment might be the skills. For medical
professionals, clinical skills would be
developed.6, 8] If the aPBL outcomes include skill develop-
ment, then most institutions use a tutored group. The tutor's
role is primarily to facilitate the development of thinking skills
and problem-solving/clinical/troubleshooting/ detective skills.
Guidance is given by Hmelo-Silver and Barrows.1521 On the
other hand, for tutorless groups,
the questioning to prompt critical thinking can be handled
by a student in the group using questions summarized by
Hmelo-Silver and Barrows,t521
the task and morale aspects of group work are facilitated
by the chair,
the development of clinical/troubleshooting/detective
skills is probably best developed using separate triad
Problem format. For type I aPBL, a single page, single
problem is usually used. For type H aPBL developing clinical/
troubleshooting/detective skills, the group receives, over the
weeks, a sequence of related problem statements representing
the stages of the process.
The resources and the university culture often dictate
whether to use tutored or tutorless groups. This decision af-
Chemical Engineering Education

* I


fects the student issues we need to address; whether clinical,
troubleshooting, or procedural skills can be included as a
target outcome for aPBL and the type of problems created
and their sequence.
2. Some of what it takes to implement aPBL
Here are seven issues to consider.
2-1. Prepare the students before aPBL with skill in problem
solving, teamwork and self-assessment. Many[20, 30, 33, 54-56]
have found it vital to provide workshop-style training or to
ensure students have skill in such areas as problem solving,
self-assessment, and group skills before they engage in aPBL.
For example, at the McMaster University Medical School one
of the five criteria for admission is successful performance on
problem solving and group work as measured by observers of
a group doing a simulated aPBL task.J54,551 In the McMaster
Oncology program, one of the first activities is a workshop
on problem solving before aPBL. In the McMaster Chemical
Engineering program students have a minimum of 12 hours
of workshops on problem solving (4 h), stress management
(2h), change management (2h), self-assessment (2h), and
group work (2h) before they work in the aPBLformat.[20,57] For
each workshop, students submit a self-assessment journal.[20]
To facilitate the students teaching each other, it helps if each
knows the learning style/preferences of others in their group.
[39] Each student receives feedback from the following inven-
tories: Jungian typology (Myers Briggs Type Inventory) ,57-59]
Kirton Adaptive Innovative,[57, 60] Lancaster Approaches to
Studying,57, 61, 62] and Perry.157 63] This information is shared
with other group members. Each group invests an hour to
decide on the norms for that particular group .[] In addition,
a 6-hour introduction to aPBL is given.147'491
In the Netherlands, students have workshops on group
collaboration skills before aPBL.J561 This includes mastering
the seven-step standard procedure to translate problems into
learning issues for individual study, structuring the group
communication process, learning how to chair meetings,
and learning how to effectively be the scribe. At Maastricht
University there is more structure in the first year to provide
extensive training in problem discussion, chairing meetings,
and reporting findings.13o0
Mantri et al.,[33] in an electrical engineering program, pro-
vided two training sessions for students on teamwork, problem
solving, and an introduction to aPBL.
2-2. Scale back to the fundamentals
For well-functioning teams about 30% of the contact time is
spent on questioning, checking, task problem solving activi-
ties, and morale building.[65] For poorly functioning teams,
as much as 70% of the contact time might be spend on the
process of making the team work, leaving only the remaining
time for the actual teach/learn process.65] It should come as no
surprise, then, to realize that in aPBL the subject knowledge
"learned" is about 70 to 80% of what would be "covered" in

lectures. Therefore, focus your learning objectives and the
problem learning issues on 80% of what you might "cover"
in lectures.[14,66] At McMaster we achieved this by removing
duplication among courses, focusing on the fundamentals,
and minimizing the instructor's interesting-but not essen-

2-3. Create the resources
Study resources for the students and room facilities need to
be provided. For the study resources, I have found it helpful
to provide the students with the set of visuals/PowerPoints
that I used when I lectured and an annotated list of resources
they might find useful. Such resources were placed on reserve
in the library. For one subject that I thought was challenging
for the students to understand I prepared a videotape lecture.
With more than 1,000 students going through the program,
that videotape was viewed by only one person.
Other resources needed include rooms with flat floors,
moveable chairs and tables, and white boards for each group.
Throughout the sessions the groups will be brainstorming,
raising issues, seeking clarification, and summarizing. Bar-
rows suggests that a white board or summary projection of
the ideas be available to help focus and speed the process

2-4. Use reflective journals
Many[5,7,20,30,68,69] recommend that the students benefit from
writing reflective journals. As noted in Section 2-1, students
wrote self-assessment journals20',48,57] for each of the process
skills workshops.
We continued to have them write self-assessment journals
for the chairperson skills and the life-long learning skills be-
ing developed through the aPBL activities.

2-5. Anticipate problems
In general, in either tutored or tutorless groups, some stress
occurs because of the change in learning environment but
more directly because of the change in student expectations
of the instructor. Perry's model can be used to guide instruc-
tors and students.15'24'63]
Stress, even with tutored groups, can debilitate and frustrate
the groups. Solomon and Finch's analysist701 of tutored groups
suggests that the major additional contributors to stress, in
addition to the above-mentioned stress related to student
expectations of the instructor, include:
1) uncertainty of the breadth and depth of knowledge
2) time needed for self-directed study,
3) misunderstanding of aPBL and faculty role,
4) lack of confidence in one's ability to be successful.
This theme is stressed in Chapter 1 of the student guidebook.151
Options are given to help overcome the stress of change.[s5

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

2-6. Understand the amount and type of work required of
the instructor and students. aPBL requires a lot of up-front
preparation.17,481 The teacher prepares the learning objectives,
creates a list of resources and additional learning material,
and locates a room with flat floors with moveable tables and
chairs. The problems are created, tested with sample readers,
and revised. Students are assigned to groups, chairperson du-
ties are assigned throughout the semester to give each a chance
to chair at least three different meetings, and policy details
are published about attendance, failure to hand in reports, and
inadequate participation.[48,49,57,71] For the training workshops,
described in Section 2-1, teachers learn how to facilitate the
workshopst57; this takes about 3 hours per workshop. Teach-
ers run the workshops and mark the self-assessment journals
submitted by each student for each workshop. Marking takes
about 30 min/journal. For the inventories (Jungian, KAI,
Perry, and LASQ) students can self-score these and explore
the implications by viewing the PowerPoint presentation for
the MPS Unit 11, the Unique You.E571
Just before the students start aPBL as groups, the teacher
introduces aPBL, as mentioned in Section 2-1, with resources
and details of how to do this described elsewhere.[47,491 Part of
this 6-hour briefing includes a videotape of students experi-
encing the three aPBL sessions: the goals meeting, the teach
meeting, and the exam/feedback meeting.1721
The students receive training through the workshops. For
each of Goals, Teach, and Feedback aPBL sessions that result
from each problem, the designated chair prepares and circu-
lates the agenda. At the Goals meeting, the students identify
what they know already and create five to six learning objec-
tives for what they need to know. These are validated by the
teacher.[481 Each contracts to teach one of objectives.
Each, armed with the learning preferences of his/her team

members, researches, lears, and prepares teach notes to be
handed out at the Teach meeting. At the Teach meeting, each
receives feedback about the quality of the teach.[481 For the
Feedback meeting, each student prepares a good 10-minute
"exam" question (and answer) on a topic that he/she didn't
teach. At the Feedback meeting, the group selects the best
question to pose to another group. Each group writes an
answer to the posed question they receive. After 30 minutes,
their response to the posed question is marked by a student
marker from the other group that posed the question. Each
group then debriefs about their performance on the test and
their understanding of the new knowledge. The teacher col-
lects and marks all the evidence (the posed question and
poser's answer, the other group's written response and the
marking of that response). At the end of each cycle of three
meetings, the students submit a self-assessment journal.[48,571
The teacher monitors the Goals and Feedback meetings to
ensure that all people are participating. If some are missing,
the group is asked if they want the teacher to enforce their
guidelines for dealing with delinquent, non-participating
members. Usually the result is that the delinquent person
is sent "the letter."171l In our experience, about 10% of the
students receive the letter once. They then negotiate to be
readmitted to the group. Of the 150 who received the letter
(over 25 years of using aPBL) only one decided not to seek
readmission and preferred to learn on his own.
2-7. Create problems
From the problem, students will identify learning issues
that equal your learning objectives for a lecture course. The
general guidelines for creating any problem are:
1. The learning goals are achievable: allow about 3 to 5
hours of study/prepare teach notes for each individual
student. Each problem would have about 5 to 6 learning

How the role of the tutor and the desired outcomes affect the form of the problem.
Outcomes: knowledge plus listening, critical thinking, questioning,
assessing validity of information
aPBL I, subject knowledge aPBL II, knowledge plus clinical/trouble shoot-
ing/detective skills
tutorless group difficult to do; develop skill after knowledge
gained from aPBL via separate triad workshopt531
student given "question checklist" tutor guides the group through the clinical/
for critical thinking, questioning, troubleshooting/detective process. Challenge,
facilitating several groups assessing validity of information groups progress at different rates and force group
to follow template process. Perhaps overcome this
tutor via astute problem sequence.
tutor asks prompting questions
with each group for critical thinking, questioning tutor guides group through the clinical/trouble-
assessing validity of information shooting/detective process.
series of problems: learn knowledge and tests
form of problem short, single scenario problem to perform; test results and subsequent decision
about action; action and follow-up.
usual discipline any health sciences, engineering, police.

Chemical Engineering Education


objectives for a group of six students so that each will
research/teach a major topic.
2. The learning outcomes are consistent with the stage of
development of students and builds on and activates
prior knowledge.
3. Goals might integrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes
across subjects and disciplines.
4. The problem contains "cues" such that the students
create learning objectives that are identical or close to
those of the faculty.
5. The problem is at an appropriate level of complexity.
6. The problem statement is not too restrictive. This chal-
lenges the student's thinking and expects the student to
integrate the new knowledge with the old.
7. The problem is motivational and relevant.
8. The problem is similar to professional practice.
9. The problem promotes student activity.
10. The problem includes raw data, like are encountered in
11. The problem identifies the context.
In addition, the form of the problem you create depends on
the expected outcomes in terms of the subject knowledge and
the skills you want to develop. Table 1 lists the impact of the
outcomes for aPBL on the form of the problem.
aPBL Type I, when the outcomes are subject knowledge
plus critical thinking. For these outcomes my experience is
that you can work with tutorless groups, and the problem
is usually a single problem statement. A student can handle
the role of the missing tutor (to ask questions and check
understanding and link to past knowledge) via a checklist of
"facilitator question prompts." The skill in problem-solving is
developed through workshops ahead of time or applicants are
not admitted into the program unless they have demonstrated
skill in problem solving. An example of aPBL I problem in
Chemical Engineering is given below.
Example problem for aPBL I: Process safety
Context: Chemical process analysis. For the past three
weeks we have been analyzing the process to make maleic
anhydride from butane. The students have the detailed Process
& Information Flow Diagram.
Target learning objectives:
Given the name of a chemical, you will be able to identify
whether the chemical is on the EPA Hazardous Organic NE-
SHAP (HON) list, the HON Section F list.
Given various sources and data for the hazardous nature of
chemicals, you will be able to define the terms and interpret
the degree of hazard and the implications.
Given a process, you will be able to use HAZOP (or equiva-
lent procedures) to identify the conditions for unsafe operation

and recommend corrective actions.
Ideal but not critical learning objectives:
You will be able to describe the Natural Step approach and
apply it to this process.
Problem statement:
Upcoming visit from Occupational Health & Safety
You are the process engineer for the maleic anhydride
process. Recently, a process in the United States, similar
to ours, exploded. Fortunately no one was injured but the
ensuing fire caused 1/2 million dollars U.S. damage. Fur-
thermore, new environmental legislation is being proposed
that really clamps down on emissions and water discharge.
We also are having a visit, in four months, from the oc-
cupational health and safety branch of the government. Your
supervisor requests that you systematically look over your
Comment: This problem description seems to satisfy the
criteria of 2) builds on previous knowledge, 3) multidisci-
plinary, 6) not restrictive, 7) motivational, 8) authentic profes-
sional practice, and 10) only raw data are given that are typical
of professional practice. Therefore this case satisfies most of
the criteria. Trials with students, however, showed that the
students failed to generate all the target learning objectives.
Insufficient cues had been given. The case was rewritten to
include cues such as chemical process, exploded, emissions,
water discharge, environmental legislation, government,
health and safety, HON, systematically identify potential
hazards for a process, HAZOP, and sustainability.
New Problem Statement: Upcoming visit from Occupa-
tional Health & Safety
You are the process engineer for the maleic anhydride
process in a Canadian company. Recently, a process in the
United States, similar to ours, exploded. Fortunately no one
was injured but the ensuing fire caused 1/2 million dollars
U.S. damage. Furthermore, new environment legislation is
being proposed that really clamps down on emissions and
water discharge. We also are having a visit, in four months.
from the occupational health and safety branch of the gov-
ernment. Your supervisor requests that you systematically
look over your process.
As you are thinking about this assignment, Kim walks by
and suggests that the HON list would be helpful; Kim sug-
gests that the HAZOP approach is a good systematic way to
solve the problem.
"Is sustainability something I should also consider?" Kim
thought for a moment and then suggested that this was not
a direct concern for this problem, but the visitors would be
impressed if we had at least thought about sustainability.
Checklists, suggestions, and examples of creating problems
are available from Barrows and Wee.31'
aPBL Type II. When the outcomes are subject knowledge.
critical thinking and skill in clinical practice or troubleshoot-
ing. Usually this option requires a tutor to be present in the

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

group. The key feature is that clinical or troubleshooting skill
is also an expected outcome. The problem is posed as a series
of scenarios and the students work sequentially through the
cases over a several-week period. Examples are available in
the medical and nursing disciplines.R48 In chemical engineer-
ing transport courses, fundamentals can be learned through
troubleshooting problems. For example, the initial problem
could be a faulty pump that requires students to learn the
Bernoulli equation, system analysis, and pump character-
istics. After the students have learned those fundamentals,
the second problem would provide answers to questions that
might be asked to try to locate the fault. Such questions might
be "When was maintenance done?" or "Look at the flare, to
see if there are upsets on site." Once the students have seen
the benefits of asking this type of question and have further
enriched their knowledge of pumps and systems, the third
problem would list tests and the results of tests. These might
include a comparison of the pressure when the outlet is shut
with the head from the pump curve at zero flow or the results
of the ampere measurement to estimate the power drawn by
the drive motor. So the problems continue until the fault is
detected and corrected, the students reflect on the trouble-
shooting process used and on the knowledge gained. I am
unaware, however, of any problems in chemical engineering
that have been prepared in this way for aPBL Type II.

In this paper the focus is on what Barrows called authentic
or original PBL where no lectures are given, students learn
new knowledge, and all students in the group must learn the
new knowledge.
Institutions using this form of aPBL have found that, com-
pared to traditional lectures, marks in subject knowledge are
the same; clinical or troubleshooting skills are better; deep
learning is promoted instead of surface learning; surveys
of graduates and alumni are positive; student motivation is
higher; student retention of the knowledge is higher, graduates
have improved skill in gathering data, and there is improved
efficiency in the graduation rates with fewer dropouts. In
addition, the following career skills are developed: problem
solving, teamwork, confidence, life-long learning, informa-
tion gathering, interpersonal relations, and communication.
To implement an aPBL learning environment, we need to
decide whether tutored or tutorless groups will be used. For
tutored groups, one tutor is needed for each group of five to
eight students. For tutorless groups, the students have to be
trained with the skills needed to function effectively without
a tutor. Seven concerns include preparing students for aPBL,
scaling back to the fundamentals, providing the literature and
room facilities needed, using reflective journals, anticipating
problems, investing the up-front work to set up aPBL, and
creating the problems that will drive the learning.

I am grateful for the advice and help I received from the
late Howard Barrows and from Henk Schmidt as I developed
an aPBL program that we could use with tutorless groups in
chemical engineering. I appreciate receiving the helpful sug-
gestions from the reviewers. Phil Wankat provided extremely
valuable modifications. Thanks, Phil.

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Problem Based Learning in Education for the Professions, D. Boud,
ed., HERDSA, Sydney, p. 19 to 42 (1985)
43. Woods, D.R., "Problem-based Learning for Large Classes in Chemi-
cal Engineering," Chapter 10 in Bringing Problem-based Learning to
Higher Education: Theory and Practice, Lu Ann Wilkerson and Wim
H. Gijselaers, ed, No. 68, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco (1996)
44. Woods, D.R., F.L. Hall, C.H. Eyles, A.N. Hrymak, and W.C.
Wendy-Hewitt, "Tutored versus Tutorless Groups in Problem-based
Learning,"American J. Pharmaceutical Education, 60, 231 (1996)
45. Woods, D.R."Issues in Implementation in an Otherwise Conventional
Program," in The Challenge of Problem-based Learning, D. Boud and
G. Feletti, eds, Kogan Page, London, p 122 to 129 (1991) and Chapter
17 in 2nd edition, Kogan Page, London, 173-180 (1998)
46. Woods, D.R., "They Just Don't Pull Their Weight!," chapter in Problem-
based Learning: Case Studies, Experience and Practice, P. Schwartz,
S. Mennin, and G. Webb, ed., Kogan Page, London 163 170 (2001)
47. Woods, D.R.,"Helping Students Gain the Most from Their PBL
Experience," chapter in Management of Change: implementation of
problem-based and project-based learning in engineering, E. deGraaf
and A. Kolmos, ed., Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 181-195 (2007)
48. Woods. D.R., "Preparing for PBL," (2006); download from .htm>. For self-assessment journals
see the Appendices, and from McMaster Problem Solving at the same
site, see the "Self-assessment journals"
49. Woods, D.R., "Problem-based Learning: Resources to gain the most
from PBL" 2nd ed., Woods, available from McMaster University Book-
store, (1997) or download it free from ca/innovl.htm> and click on PBL and then download Chapters B, C,
and D from Problem based Learning: Resources to gain the most from
50. Wales. C.E., and R.A. Stager, Guided Design, West Virginia University,
Morgantown (1977)
51. Tarmizi, R.A., and S. Bayat, "Effects of Problem-based Learning Ap-
proach in Learning of Statistics among University Students," Procedia
Social and Behavioural Sciences, 8, 384 (2010)
52. Hmelo-Silver, C.E., and H.S. Barrows, "Goals and Strategies for a
Problem-based Learning Facilitator," Int. Journal PBL, 1(1)21 (2006)
53. Woods, D.R., "Successful Troubleshooting for Process Engineers."
Wiley (2007) and MPS 34, at innovl .htm>
54. Hamilton, J.D., "The selection of medical students at McMaster Uni-
versity," J. R. Coll. Physicians, London. Jul: 6(4) 348 (1972)
55. Marrin, M.L., et al., "Use of the paired-comparison technique to deter-
mine the most valued qualities of the McMaster Medical Programme
Admissions Process."Adv Health Sci Educ Theorw Pract. 9(2) 129
56. Schmidt, H.G., S.M.M. Loyens. T. van Gog. F Paas:- Problem-
based Learning is Compatible with Human Cognitive Anrhitecunre:
Commentary on Kirschner. Sweller and Clark (2006): Etoeational
Psychologist, 42(2), 91 (2007)
57. Workshops are described in ref. 48. 49 and> and click on McMaster Problem Solving
Program and move down to find the appropriate unit materials. Details
include learning objectives, timing. powerpoints, workshop activities,
target skills and usually a self-assessment journal.
58. Keirsey. D., and M. Bates. Please Understand Me. Prometheus Nemesis
Book Co.: Del Mar. CA (1984)
59. Myers,I.B.,and P.B. Myers. Gifts Differing, Stanford University Press.
Palo Alto, CA, (1980)
60. Kirton, M.J., "Adapters and innovators: a description and measure."
J. Appl. Psychol.," 61,622 (1980)
61. LASQ or ASQ Appendix B of ref. 24.
62. Newble, D.I., and R.M. Clarke,"The approaches to learning of students
in a traditional and in an innovative problem-based medical school,"
Med. Educ., 20, 267 (1986)

Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring 2012

63. Perry inventory and interpretation, see ref. 5 and Appendix C of ref.
64. For the norms meeting, the 17 decisions are made: 1. need for chairperson,
2. terminology for problem solving, 3. type of brainstorming approach,4.
decision making procedure, 5. role of chairperson in decision making, 6.
resources needed, 7. record and distribute minutes of meeting?, 8. roles,
9. meeting agenda, 10. Sandler's rules, 11. how to handle conflict, 12.
how to combat group think, 13. willingness to share personal informa-
tion about "styles" with all group members, 14. level of intervention
desired, 15. how to handle emergencies, 16. how to handle emotional
issues brought to the group, and 17. how to ask a member to leave the
group. Details are given in the Resources book, ref. 49
65. Reddy, W.B., Intervention Skills, Pfeiffer and Co. (1994)
66. Dolmans, D.H.J.M. et al., "Problem Effectiveness in a Course Using
Problem-based Learning," Academic Medicine, 68,207 (1993)

67. Appendices A, B and C in reference 48
68. Solomon, P., et al.,"An interprofessional problem-based learning course
on rehabilitation issues in HIV," Medical Teacher; 25(4) 408 (2003)
69. Van Loggerenberg, A.M., "Implementing PBL in training teachers for
Outcome Based Technology curriculum," Ph.D. thesis, University of
Pretoria (2000)
70. Solomon, P., and E. Finch, "A qualitative Study Identifying Stressors
Associated with Adapting to Problem-based Learning," Teaching and
Learning in Medicine, 10(2), 58 (1998)
71. The Letter related to poor participation is given on page D-24 of the
Resources book and can be downloaded from 1 .htm> ref. 49
72. Videotape of students experiencing PBL in tutorless groups. This is
found at and look
partway down through the file 0

Chemical Engineering Education

Author Guidelines for the



The laboratory experience in chemical engineering education has long been an integral part
of our curricula. CEE encourages the submission of manuscripts describing innovations in the
laboratory ranging from large-scale unit operations experiments to demonstrations appropriate
for the classroom. The following guidelines are offered to assist authors in the preparation of
manuscripts that are informative to our readership. These are only suggestions, based on the
comments of previous reviewers; authors should use their own judgment in presenting their
experiences. A set of general guidelines and advice to the author can be found at our Web site:

> Manuscripts should describe the results of original and laboratory-tested ideas.
The ideas should be broadly applicable and described in sufficient detail to
allow and motivate others to adapt the ideas to their own curricula. It is noted
that the readership of CEE is largely faculty and instructors. Manuscripts must
contain an abstract and often include an Introduction, Laboratory Description,
Data Analysis, Summary of Experiences, Conclusions, and References.
An Introduction should establish the context of the laboratory experi-
ence (e.g., relation to curriculum, review of literature), state the learning
objectives, and describe the rationale and approach.
The Laboratory Description section should describe the experiment in
sufficient detail to allow the reader to judge the scope of effort required
to implement a similar experiment on his or her campus. Schematic dia-
grams or photos, cost information, and references to previous publica-
tions and Web sites, etc., are usually of benefit. Issues related to safety
should be addressed as well as any special operating procedures.
If appropriate, a Data Analysis section should be included that concisely
describes the method of data analysis. Recognizing that the audience
is primarily faculty, the description of the underlying theory should be
referenced or brief. The purpose of this section is to communicate to the
reader specific student-learning opportunities (e.g., treatment of reac-
tion-rate data in a temperature range that includes two mechanisms).
The purpose of the Summary of Experiences section is to convey the
results of laboratory or classroom testing. The section can enumerate,
for example, best practices, pitfalls, student survey results, or anecdotal
A concise statement of the Conclusions (as opposed to a summary) of
your experiences should be the last section of the paper prior to listing

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