July 18, 2012 — Four Drexel University Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics professors were awarded a Transforming Undergraduate Education grant by the National Science Foundation to develop an improved biomechanical engineering curriculum at Drexel. The NSF proposal titled, Integrating Biomechanical Engineering Research and Design and a Co-operative Education was developed by professor Alisa Morss Clyne, with assistance from James Tangorra, Hongseok Noh, and Wei Sun.
The program focuses on educating biomechanical engineers who will translate laboratory discoveries into cutting-edge biomechanical technologies. The initiative builds upon existing junior level mechanical engineering courses and modifies them in to a problem-based curriculum specific to biomechanical engineering. After completing two courses, the students will apply what they have learned in the classroom to an integrated co-operative education experience with an industry partner such as Exponent, Rex Medical and Integra Biosciences. Students may also elect to complete a research co-op with one of the professors in their biomechanics laboratory. The students’ experience culminates with a senior design project focused on developing a new biomechanical device.
One of the program’s cornerstones is problem-based learning. Instead of providing a traditional educational experience, the students will learn by investigating complex real-world issues. The hope is that it will “enhance student confidence and skills in self-directed learning and self-assessment.” The professors involved in the initiative hope to one day translate this type of program across Drexel’s College of Engineering and to other area universities.
The professors were awarded the $199,196 dollar grant to implement the program on July 2 by the National Science Foundation. Students will begin courses in fall 2013.