Development of an Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Bioengineering Program at Lehigh University

ABSTRACT

The undergraduate Bioengineering Program at Lehigh University was established as part of the university’s Bioscience and Biotechnology Initiative with support from the National Science Foundation through a grant from its Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC). The objective here is to describe the program development and implementation, as well as the challenges encountered. Bioengineering at Lehigh was designed as an interdisciplinary program, with an emphasis on experiential learning, entrepreneurship, and innovation. In this light, the goals established for the program implementation were focused on recruiting students, developing a rigorous curriculum, equipping laboratories, and fostering industrial partnerships. The curriculum initially had three key components: a core of basic requirements, three tracks allowing students to specialize within a field of bioengineering, and experiential learning. The key challenges faced are balancing breadth and depth of a curriculum in a diverse field, improving experiential learning opportunities, implementing changes while maintaining stability, and handling operations as a new program rather than as an established department. The effectiveness of these strategies has been assessed on an ongoing basis. For example, an integrated recruitment strategy was used to encourage student enrollment, the results of which were measured through surveys and admissions data. Requiring students to select one of the three tracks, which are Biopharmaceutical Engineering, Cell and Tissue Engineering, and Bioelectronics and Biophotonics, each with an advanced laboratory course, added depth to the curriculum. Based on several sources of feedback, numerous changes have been made to the curriculum, including the addition of more bioengineering courses, especially advanced electives. The incorporation of Integrated Product Development (IPD), which was already an established hallmark program at Lehigh, into bioengineering, was a major program change that enhanced the hands-on learning and innovation opportunities. Implementing such changes, and managing them effectively, have been necessary to maintain program stability.

 

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Lori Herz Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA

Lori Herz
Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

M. Jean Russo Center for Social Research Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA

M. Jean Russo
Center for Social Research
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

H. Daniel Ou-Yang Physics and Bioengineering Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA

H. Daniel Ou-Yang
Physics and Bioengineering
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

Mohamed El-Aasser Chemical Engineering and International Affairs Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA

Mohamed El-Aasser
Chemical Engineering and International Affairs
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

Anand Jagota Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA

Anand Jagota
Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

Svetlana Tatic-Lucic Electrical and Computer Engineering Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA

Svetlana Tatic-Lucic
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

John Ochs Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Integrated Product Development Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA

John Ochs
Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Integrated Product Development
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

 

 

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