AU-engineering 3/27/97

Mitch Emmons (


AUBURN -- Auburn University's Department of Electrical Engineering will introduce a new, more flexible research-influenced curriculum this fall, says Professor Leo Grigsby, who directed the initiative.

Two key objectives, he says, are maintaining the fundamentals in the basics of electrical engineering while allowing students to take courses in a non-traditional career field.

"Flexibility is the most significant difference between the new and current curriculums," Grigsby said.

Instead of being limited to the traditional electrical engineering core courses, Grigsby said students under the new curriculum can take 15 hours of free electives (courses of their choice) -- compared to only three hours of free electives in the current curriculum.

"Students can take courses building toward a more non-traditional career path," he said. "For example, students can use the free electives to combine EE (electrical engineering) with business, science, medicine or law."

Or they can remain focused on traditional electrical engineering coursework.

"The new curriculum also requires 15 hours of EE electives beyond those required EE courses," Grigsby said. "They can also take all of their free electives in EE if they choose to do so -- thus becoming even more specialized in EE than in the current curriculum."

Auburn is on the leading edge of engineering institutions instituting flexible curriculums, Grigsby said. But industry is looking for electrical engineers who are trained to work in multi-disciplinary teams and with more refined writing skills.

The flexibility of the new curriculum reinforces this not only through allowing students to take courses in other disciplines, but also by changing the laboratory structure.

"Labs will be more open-ended," he said. "They will run for several weeks at a time and cut across different areas of electrical engineering. They will involve multi-disciplinary, more design oriented projects -- more closely attuned to research."

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CONTACT: Grigsby, 844-1823.