Journal Title

American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition

Publication Date



This paper explains the approach taken to develop a “design spine” within our mechanical engineering curriculum. Developing a design spine started as a discussion about the ASME Vision 2030 document, which encourages programs to provide design experience throughout all four years of the curriculum. Towards this end, the mechanical engineering faculty reviewed our curriculum and identified where and how we do teach engineering design in lecture courses, laboratories, and in the capstone design courses. We recognized that many design elements are already incorporated throughout the curriculum but we needed to approach design in a more systematic manner. The very meaning of “engineering design” does not enjoy universal definition. For our purposes, we used the ABET Criterion 5 definition and original ABET 2000 requirements. After the design spine was defined by the faculty, a survey of senior students was administered to evaluate the effectiveness of the design spine. Student survey responses are analyzed and a map for developing a design spine at other universities is provided.


Curriculum evaluation; Curriculum planning; Engineering--Educational Aspects

Publication Information

American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, 2015, 1-22.

© 2015 American Society for Engineering Education

Archived version is the final published version.



Document Type

Conference Presentation

Included in

Engineering Commons