The Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering (EMSE) Project at Cal Poly

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The Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering (EMSE) Project at Cal Poly is developing an integrated set of lower division courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and English which incorporate engineering projects. As of June 1996, two classes of students will have completed the freshman year sequence, and one class will have completed the sophomore year sequence. The integrating theme in the two year sequence of courses is the mathematics, starting with the introductory calculus course and progressing through the partial differential equations course. The other courses in the project include the calculus-based physics sequence, the freshman year sequence in English, and, recently, the introductory chemistry course. The EMSE Project is based upon existing, successful interdisciplinary curriculum projects; its administrative center resides within the College of Science and Mathematics. The basic objective of the project is to improve the acquisition of knowledge, and cognitive skills, of the students using the integration of topics within a set of courses, with each course being taught in a studio setting. One basic goal is to improve the educational productivity of the faculty, including improving the retention rate for students in the introductory calculus and science courses. The EMSE Project is described, and some preliminary assessment material is presented.