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Curriculum Revisions for the (Bio)Chemical Engineer

Peter E. Parker, Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering, & Imaging, Western Michigan University, Parkview Campus A-217, 4601 Campus Dr., Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5462

Chemical engineering has traditionally used mathematics, physics, and chemistry as the foundations sciences. Recent advances have suggested that biology will play an ever increasing role in chemical engineering and should become one of the foundational sciences. Western Michigan University's chemical engineering program is relatively new and was built on the traditional approach. As part of our ongoing educational objective review process, the need for the inclusion of biology was raised by our advisory board. Discussions of this issue occupied the advisory board for the better part of a year and included, as well, the chair of WMU's biological sciences department. These deliberations included how much biology is sufficient, what topics were critical, how should these topics be addressed (new or existing course), the integration of these topics to the existing curriculum, and, critically, what material could be deleted to make room for the new material. This paper will describe the results of these (and other) intense deliberations, the expected changes to the curriculum, and the response of the students to these issues.