• New chemical engineering provision: Quality in diversity

      Tizaoui, Chedly; Campbell, Grant; Belton, Daniel; Triñanes, Pablo Garcia; Cox, Phil; Brown, David (Elsevier, 2019-03-05)
      Recent growth in chemical engineering student numbers has driven an increase in the number of UK universities offering the subject. The implications of this growth are described, along with the different challenges facing new providers in the UK compared with established departments. The approaches taken by the various new entrants are reviewed, with reference to recruitment strategies, infrastructure, the use of external facilities, and the particular flavours of chemical engineering being offered by the new providers. Information about the differentiating features of the large number of chemical engineering degree courses now available is somewhat indistinct: this should be rectified in the interests both of prospective students and of employers. Dilemmas facing new providers include the need to address the fundamentals of the subject as well as moving into more novel research-led areas; enabling students to develop the competencies to sustain them for a whole career as well as meeting immediate employer needs; and providing sufficient industry understanding when academics may lack substantial industrial experience. The central importance of practical provision and of the design project, and the approaches taken by new providers to deliver these components, are reviewed, together with the role of software tools in chemical engineering education, and measures to facilitate industry input into courses. As long as it is not used prescriptively or to inhibit innovation, the accreditation process provides constructive guidance and leverage for universities developing new chemical engineering programmes.