Curriculum Change Proposals

Curriculum Change Proposal BSCHE – January 15, 2018

A proposal to:

  • Change the prerequisite requirements of CHME 102.
  • CHEM 111/115 would be pre- or co-requisite to CHME 102.
  • CHME 101 prerequisite be waived for students with demonstrated strong computing and spreadsheeting background.

Driver: Students with a high school chemistry background who were permitted to take CHME 102 while taking CHEM 111/115 co-requisite have performed well in the course.  Likewise, students who have strong computing skills in spreadsheeting have performed will without having completed the CHME 101 prerequisite.

Justification: Prerequisites established with addition of CHME 101 were likely overly rigid.

Outcome: Not implemented.  

Curriculum Change Proposal Graduate – January 15, 2018

A proposal to:

  • Add CHME 548. Industrial Safety (3 cr hr) and to the graduate CHME catalog and core graduate curriculum, reducing the elective content in both the MS and Ph D paths by 3 credit hours (applicable to those students not having prior credit for CHME 448). CHME 548 will taught in conjunction with CHME 448, however those taking 548 will be required to (i) complete the required CHME safety training for laboratory workers, (ii) attend departmental safety meetings, (iii) complete projects beyond CHME 448, to include developing an ESP for a CoE graduate research project.

Driver: Graduate students who have not completed their undergraduate coursework at NMSU have demonstrated a severe lack of safety understanding and training.  Such knowledge is key to their future in any industry they may find employment post-graduation.

Justification: CoE Safety Specialist Juanita Miller reports graduate students having difficulty developing ESPs due to a lack of safety background of many of the incoming CHME grad students. Dictating an elective in Industrial Safety aligns with the CHME Graduate Program Objective 4, “apply professional and ethical responsibilities of the engineering profession,” where a knowledge of industrial safety is one of the most significant professional responsibilities of a chemical engineer.

Outcome: Course will be created, but not required of the core graduate CHME curriculum.

Curriculum Change Proposal BSCHE – October 1, 2016

A proposal to:

  • Add the course I E 365 Quality Control to the BSCHE.
  • Substitute I E 311 Engineering Data Analysis for the STAT 371 course currently in the curriculum. 

Driver: A number of CHME alumni who hire CHMEs who attended the 2016 Industrial Advisory Board meeting stated that statistical process control is an area heavily used in the industry, and for which many CHME new hires are completely unprepared. An alum from 2000 had recently interviewed a 2016 NMSU CHME grad the week prior and indicated the student had zero knowledge of this critical area. The IAB strongly recommended a course in this area, for which it was suggested I E 365. Quality Control be added to the BSCHE curriculum.


Outcome: CHME Faculty approved the addition of I E 365 Quality Control to the BSCHE.  In addition, CHME faculty approved replacing STAT 371 with I E 311 Engineering Data Analysis.

Curriculum Change Proposal BSCHE – May 31, 2016

A proposal to:

  • Add a minor of study entitled “Brewery Engineering”

Driver:  The brewing industry has seen rapid growth in the decade from 2005 (1447 breweries) to 2015 (4548 breweries).

Justification: There does not appear to be a comprehensive and rigorous training program to prepare engineers for careers in this industry.  Chemical Engineering forms the appropriate basis of study for such specialized training as is evidenced by literature dating back to 1936 (M. B. Donald, “Chemical Engineering in the Brewing Industry,” Joint Meeting of the London Section with the London Section of the Incorporated Brewers’ Guild, Held at the British Industries House, Marble Arch, London on Monday, 7th December, 1935).

Outcome: Faculty approved the development of said minor, which was subsequently approved by the College.

Curriculum Change Proposal BSCHE – May 31, 2016

A proposal to:

  • Return “MATH 392 Differential Equations” to the BSCHE curriculum
  • Keep “CHME 392 Numerical Methods” in the BSCHE curriculum

Driver: Student exit interviews have noted a desire to return to a formal differential equations format through MATH 392. Faculty have also been challenged with the task of documenting a thorough differential equations education. This proposal seeks to return MATH 392 as a required course to the BSCHE curriculum.

Justification: The content of the traditional differential equations course was found to be difficult to teach across the curriculum and students aspiring to graduate studies were taking the course despite it’s absence from the curriculum.  Students not taking MATH 392 struggle to apply fundamental concepts based on diffeqs later in the CHME curriculum.

Outcome: Faculty approved the return of MATH 392 while keeping CHME 392 in the BSCHE.

Curriculum Change Proposal BSCHE – March 2, 2016

A proposal to:

  • Add a minor entitled, “Computational Engineering.

Driver: Chemical Engineers are increasingly expected to simulate and model chemical phenomena and processes in both academic and industrial settings.

Justification: The BSCHE already contains numerous courses in simulation science and mathematical modeling.  Students who go beyond the BSCHE should be recognized for this increased level of education. To that end, Dr. T. Manz developed a proposed minor curriculum.

Outcome: Faculty approved the development of said minor, which was subsequently approved by the College on 01/25/17.

Curriculum Change Proposal BSCHE – January 20, 2016

A proposal to:

  • Add a minor entitled, “Biomedical Engineering.

Driver: Through exit interviews, chemical engineering students have expressed a desire to develop a curriculum that will permit them to prepare for advanced studies in the area of Biomedical Engineering.

Justification: The BSCHE has much overlap with a biomedical engineering curriculum as evidenced by comparing the BSCHE to similar programs offering a biomedical engineering degree.  To that end, a proposed minor-of-study is proposed that addresses coursework needs of students seeking such careers.

Outcome: Faculty approved the minor, which was subsequently approved by the College on 03/01/16 after modification to include coursework from across the College to permit students of all disciplines to complete it.

Curriculum Change Proposal BSCHE – January 20, 2016

A proposal to:

  • Add a minor entitled, “Pre-Law Intellectual Property.

Driver: A number of graduates have gone on to law school and as alumni have suggested development of a track through the BSCHE that prepares graduates for law school.

Justification: A minor-of-study that provides students with opportunities to explore careers in the legal profession while preparing for the LSAT will support those students pursuing the BSCHE for this alternative career path.

Outcome: Faculty approved the minor, which was subsequently approved by the College on 03/01/16.

Curriculum Change Proposal BSCHE – December 29, 2015

Numerous proposed changes considered in preparation for a mandated 120 credit hour BSCHE.

Driver: In preparation for a state-mandated 120 credit hour BSCHE, the CHME faculty considered:

  1. Combine CHME 301 (3), CHME 302 (2), and CHME 302L (1) into one course, CHME 303 (4)
  2. Eliminate ENGR/Natl Sci elective (3)
  3. Reduce CHME 448 from 3 to 2 credit hours
  4. Eliminate one of the two CHME electives (3)
  5. Eliminate PHYS 215L (1) and PHYS 216L (1)
  6. Eliminate BIOL 211 (3)

Justification: Continued warning from the NMSU administration that a 120 credit hour curriculum would be mandated by state law.

Outcome: CHME faculty opted not to reduce the curriculum to 120 credit hours.  Rather, it would be reduced to 128 credit hours in anticipation of an overhaul of the state general education requirements and a consideration of the need for the Viewing a Wider World electives (which have never been used for assessment purposes in CHME).

CHME faculty agreed to items 1, and 2 above, rejecting items 3-6.

Curriculum Change Proposal Graduate – November 16, 2015

A proposal to place increased emphasis of the Ph D curriculum on research 

Driver: Increase emphasis on graduate research by reducing elective course requirement by 6 credit hours and redistributing these hours equally between CHME 698 and CHME 700.

Justification: CHME faculty and grad students have demonstrated strong research/publication capabilities and are finding the current coursework-intensive program to slow a student’s responsiveness in the research lab.  Much research-relevant content can be found in the open literature and through online resources to satisfy the individualized research needs of each Ph D student; whereas developing coursework specific to each students’ needs is cumbersome, time-consuming, and not economically favorable.  A shift to emphasize more research work is desired to increase the quantity and quality of results coming from CHME.

Outcome: The faculty unanimously approved the proposed change.

August 11, 2015 CHME Faculty Assessment Retreat

no changes proposed or discussed

August 19, 2014 CHME Faculty Assessment Retreat

A proposal to make ENGR 100 a prereq for CH E 102. (Rockstraw)

Driver: ENGR 100 will include training in flow sheeting and structured programming, elements of CH E 111 which was removed from the curriculum to make room for the dean’s Freshman Year Experience courses.  It may be desirable to re-establish this prerequisite structure.

Justification: As the ENGR 100 is developed over the 2014 summer, it has been learned that this class will develop students skills with tools that include: structured programming in MATLAB, dimensional analysis and unit conversions, basic design knowledge, and exposure to engineering fundamentals. These tools would then need not be covered in CH E 102, permitting CH E 102 and CH E 201 to cover more material & energy balance concepts.

Outcome: The CHME faculty decided against this prerequisite structure, citing the vacillating history of ENGR 100 in the college, preferring instead to incorporate just-in-time content in the sequence CH E 102, 201, and 392.

A proposal to require PHYS 215L & 216L in the BSCHE curriculum. (Rockstraw)

Driver: While reviewing peer Chemical Engineering programs for comparative statistics, it was noted that most required students to complete the physics lab sequence.

Justification: The fundamental science laboratory experience is a tool of DISCOVERY. Exposure to physics experimentation, data collection, and model fitting is common among CH E programs, but is absent from the NMSU BSCHE curriculum.

Outcome:  Faculty discussed the pros (more hands-on and practical connections to the textbook; more report writing and data analysis) and cons (more credit hours to fit into the curriculum), and decided to permit department head to develop some flow diagrams for future consideration in the 2015-2016 catalog.  CHME Dept Head will contact Physics Dept Head, request syllabi for these labs, and seek tour of facilities were labs are held, then report findings back to CHME faculty.

09/08/2014 – CHME Dept Head tours Physics labs and collects content schedule for the two labs.  Gregg McPherson, Lead Mechanics Lab T.A., demonstrates some of the experiments and the data acquisition systems.  CHME Dept Head emails documents and photos to CHME faculty, noting the labs appear to provide the desired hands-on experience, reporting requirements, and data treatment as faculty desired in retreat discussion, and makes recommendation that this curriculum change be adopted at 9/17/14 faculty meeting.

A proposal to make a biology elective a requirement of the BSCHE curriculum. (Rockstraw)

Driver: During review of program-specific ABET criteria, the verbiage stating “grounding in the basic sciences including chemistry, physics, and/or biology” was considered relative to the lack of a required biology course in the BSCHE.

Justification: There is an increasing need for CHMEs to have some background in biology.

Outcome:  The CHME faculty did not wish to reduce the minimal elective content of the curriculum. Rather, curriculum will be expanded to include a course in  biological sciences without a corresponding reduction in technical electives (6 credits CHME, 3 credits ENGR/Natl Sci).

A proposal to develop individualized capstone experiences in CH E 455. (Rockstraw)

Driver: Through networking interactions with chemical companies, the CHME Dept Head arranged a unique capstone/internship opportunity for a CHME junior.  This arrangement suggests a potential capstone model to be explored.

Justification: Unique opportunities exist to tie industrial experience and extend the duration and scope of the capstone experience. A model for a 2-year upperclass capstone will be piloted during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years.

Outcome: The faculty agreed to review how this first capstone experience progresses and revisit when data has been collected on how well it went.  Rockstraw/Ghassemi/Andersen will also investigate if WERC design contest problem(s) may be appropriate for capstone use on a case-by-case basis.

08/25/2014 – Rockstraw reviewed WERC contest problems and agrees to permit students to use Tasks 2 or 3 as their CHME 455 capstone design problem (though there will be additional reporting requirements for CHME 455 beyond those required by the contest).  To be eligible to use this as their CHME 455 capstone problem, up to three members of the team must be CHME seniors who will enroll in CHME 455 in the spring. The team must compete in the WERC contest to be eligible to use this problem as their capstone problem in CHME 455.  If a team wins their task, additional reporting requirements of CHME 455 will be waived.

A proposal to add a course in physiology to the BSCHE pre-med track. (Rockstraw)

Driver: CHME alum Will McClellan (BSCHE 2008 and UNM SOM graduate, currently in residence as MD in Cleveland, OH) commented on the pre-med track when posted to social media.  Dr. McClellan strongly suggested a course in physiology be added to the pre-med track, in place of the Natural History of Life biology course, stating this course would be much more helpful for students when taking the MCAT.

Justification: Pre-Med advisory committee suggestion based on personal experience that MCAT has significant physiology content and such a requirement would improve students’ MCAT performance.

Outcome: Faculty agreed to replace BIOL 111 with BIOL 354 in the pre-med track.

A proposal to add a CH E elective course entitled “Corrosion” to the Materials Engineering minor list (Andersen)

Driver: While reviewing potential changes to the Nuclear Energy minor, it was noted that a background in corrosion science would be widely valuable to CHME students.

Justification:  The annual cost of corrosion worldwide is over 3% of the world’s GDP, or $2.2 trillion (07/11/2014 at The World Corrosion Organization).  Corrosion is a “materials”-related phenomenon, and represents a topic which a materials specialist should have expertise.

Outcome: A course in corrosion will be added to the catalog, and included in both the Nuclear and Materials minors.

A proposal to offer a Viewing a Wider World course in Materials Engineering. (Scarbrough)

Driver:  With the name change of the department to include “Materials,” CHME seeks to market this aspect of the program across the campus in the form of a VWW course.

Justification:  Such a course would provide NMSU students with exposure to the world of chemical & materials engineering.

Outcome:  Marilyn Scarbrough presented proposed content for a VWW course entitled, “Failure of Materials” that would expose NMSU students to vocabulary and concepts of materials science and engineering, with a number of critical thinking tasks.  The faculty encouraged Dr. Scarbrough to continue development of the VWW proposal and target the next VWW Committee meeting with the proposal

A proposal to Reconfigure the NMSU CHME Undergraduate Laboratory Sequence (Gulino)

Driver:  While scheduling the 2014-2015 AY laboratories, Dr. Daniel Gulino noted that students were completing laboratories in CH E 422L involving process dynamics and control before they receive formal education on the topic.

Justification: Reconfiguring the lab sequence across four semesters instead of two permits a proper correlation of lab content with lecture coverage.  Dr. Gulino presented the attached CHME Laboratory Course proposal.

Outcome:  Faculty were in favor of the proposal and encouraged CHME Dept Head to develop some scenario flow diagrams for future consideration.

A proposal to add “CH E 468/568 Adsorption” to the Materials Engineering minor list (Rockstraw)

Driver:  A graduate student in CHME inquired why Adsorption was not considered in the Materials Engineering minor list of courses.

Justification: Adsorption occurs at a solid/fluid interface and is a common materials-related phenomena important to catalysis, separation, chemical vapor deposition, and other unit operations and materials phenomena.

Outcome:  Faculty agreed to this addition to the Materials Engineering minor course list.

A proposal to modify the content and name of the Nuclear Energy minor (Andersen)

Driver:  Upperclassmen were finding it difficult to identify available courses for the Nuclear Energy minor.

Justification:  Dr. Andersen studied the NMSU catalog and course offerings to find many of the courses currently on the list are no longer offered at NMSU.  He further studied similar programs, and found a need for chemical engineers with expertise in the front and back ends of the fuel cycle.  Findings are summarized in a memo submitted on 08/28/2014.

Outcome: Faculty agreed to (1) change the name of the minor to “Nuclear Chemical Engineering” with a focus on the front end and back ends of nuclear fuel cycle; (2) to add a course in corrosion to the list of course offerings; and (3) to add the proposed list of courses from beyond CHME to the allowable courses that count toward the minor.  Dr. Andersen will develop and offer the corrosion course in the near future.