The ProActive Philosophy for Teaching and Learning was introduced with the Aerospace Curriculum 2000 (AE 2000), in the fall of 1997. The new curriculum for the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences (AES) was reformed in content and a new teaching and learning paradigm was introduced. Course content reform primarily focused on horizontal integration of the engineering sciences, hands-on experiments, and design in a teaming environment. There is a renewed emphasis on the implicitness of computing and communications. The MATLAB programming environment is incorporated into most courses and writing and presentation skills are emphasized. The Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory (ITLL) made the reforms realizable.2 Seebass and Peterson9 provide a detailed discussion of the motivations and decisions made in creating the AE 2000. In particular, they acknowledge lessons learned from MIT,3,4 the Universities of Maryland1and Cincinnati11, and an industry perception of desired attributes of engineering graduates.5 They also discuss the enabling potential of the ITLL.
The following discussion is in two major parts. First is a discussion of knowledge and curriculum that motivated the ProActive Philosophy for Teaching and Learning that forms the core of the pedagogical reform. This is followed by the second major part, a status report on the AE 2000, midway through year five. The sophomore course ASEN 2002 Introduction to Thermodynamics and Aerodynamics is discussed in detail to illustrate horizontal integration, hands-on experiments, design projects, and implementation of the proactive philosophy. Finally, challenges and compromises in maintaining the AE 2000 are discussed.