Department Profile

Mission Statement[1]

The Dordt College engineering program strives to provide serviceable insight[2] in the field of engineering from a distinctively Christian perspective[3] while demonstrating the highest quality undergraduate teaching and learning; an education that will equip students for the task of life-long Christian discipleship.

Program Strengths

  • Distinctively Christian Education - Our professors are leaders in the development of a biblically guided engineering curriculum that extends from the introduction to engineering sequence through the capstone engineering design course.
  • Academic Excellence - Our record of industry placement, graduate school appointments, and exceptional performance on the nationally administered Fundamentals of Engineering exam have together earned us a reputation for engineering excellence.
  • Teaching and Learning Focused - Unlike large research universities, our focus is on teaching. Our average class size of 18 students is ideal for building a close-knit learning community of faculty and students.
  • ABET Accredited* - Dordt is one of only a few Christian colleges that has been fully accredited for over 20 years.
  • Personal Instruction - The average engineering class is 18 students, ideal for teaching and learning. Students take several courses with each professor, creating a close community that enhances learning.
  • Faculty Experience - Faculty bring doctoral research and professional experience to the classroom in all engineering fields represented in our curriculum.
  • Integral Core Curriculum - Engineering majors receive a broad education that serves them well in an interdisciplinary profession.

Student Outcomes

  1. Educational breadth and worldview: Students will engage in a broad-based curriculum that educates the whole person and enables the engineering student to develop his or her Christian worldview, recognizing the required breadth of knowledge in our global and culturally diverse world.
  2. Faithfulness and responsibility: Students will do technology holistically in recognition of many factors including trust, ethics, justice, economics, relationships, language, culture, aesthetics, and logic.
  3. Societal and historical context: Students will understand contemporary issues within the broader context of cultural, societal, and historical development. They will know their place and task in the dynamic unfolding of creation in time, which has been called the cultural mandate.
  4. Life-long learning: Students will recognize that life-long learning is necessary to remain faithful and effective in their call to participate in the continual unfolding of creation.
  5. Critical thinking and problem solving: Students will have the ability to think critically and identify, formulate, and solve problems.
  6. Mathematics, science, and engineering fundamentals: Students will have the ability to apply foundational knowledge in mathematics, science, and engineering, and gain an appreciation for the numerical and spatial aspects of the creation.
  7. Experimental Design and Analysis: Students will have the ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data.
  8. Engineering design: Students will have the ability to holistically design systems, components, or processes by giving consideration to norms for design that stem from a vision of faithful and responsible engineering service.
  9. Engineering Skills and Tools: Students will have the ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools (e.g. computational tools) necessary for professional engineering practice.
  10. Teamwork: Students will have the ability to engage in the communal task of engineering and will recognize the importance of servant leadership and the interdependency of individual member strengths as part of the whole.
  11. Communication: Students will have the ability to effectively express ideas and information through public speaking, writing, and graphical forms of communication.

*accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org

 

 

[1] The mission of the Dordt College engineering program grows out of The Education Task of Dordt College. This mission emphasizes that the basis and motivation for the Dordt College engineering program is our awareness of the calling we have as God's covenant people, standing in the tradition of the Reformation, to bring every area of life under the lordship of Christ. "Standing in the tradition of the Reformation" means that every element of the Dordt College engineering program is rooted in a particular Christian worldview and nourished by an identifiable Christian philosophical tradition. That tradition believes the Bible to be the Word of God, and finds the writings of historic, sixteenth century Calvinism to be helpful in effectively using the "glasses" of Scripture to view God's creation. Following a reformational revival during the nineteenth century in the Netherlands, that Calvinist tradition was further articulated by Christians such as Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer and Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper founded the Free University in Amsterdam, where two professors, Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd further articulated the tradition in terms of a Christian philosophical system. Working from that system, Hendrik van Riessen and Egbert Schuurman have laid the groundwork for a Christian philosophy of engineering and technology. Schuurman's book, Technology and the Future, and the 1986 publication by the Calvin Center for Christian Studies, Responsible Technology, have been the most helpful statements of that philosophy to date. Part of the mission of the Dordt College engineering department is to contribute to that philosophical tradition.

[2] Serviceable insight, as expressed in The Education Task of Dordt College, is "insight that enables Christians to carry out their task effectively in a complicated world". In contrast to learning that often only "contributes to secularization and fosters individualism", serviceable insight "is not designed to enhance the service of one's self, but rather, seeks to equip the Christian community to respond obediently to the central Scriptural command, to love God above all, and your neighbor as yourself". We are to "train Kingdom citizens aware of the demands of the cultural mandate, equipped to take their place and carry out their tasks within our civilization, and prepared to advance, in loving service, the claims of Christ over all areas of life." "One goal of the College is to identify those occupational areas where serviceable insight is increasingly needed. In principle, no legitimate profession, occupation, vocation, or station in life can be precluded from Dordt's educational concern. Wherever insight is required, there Dordt College is called to supply it." Technology, and, in particular, the profession of engineering, refers to an area of life where the redemptive healing of the gospel is sorely needed. For example, the problem of energy consumption and stewardship, cited in a number of places in The Education Task of Dordt College, exemplifies the need for biblically directed serviceable insight in an area where failure of the various denominations of naturalism, humanism, and economism has already been tangibly experienced. The ubiquitous but directionless proliferation of computer technology represents another area crying out for meaning and direction. We see our task as that of training Christian engineers who can address tomorrow's technological problems and bring the healing and the claims of the Kingdom to a suffering world.

[3] Teaching Christianly entails engineering instruction that demonstrates the unity of creation and rejects the classic polarizations between technical and humanities, vocational and liberal arts, or natural and spiritual and embraces a biblical (i.e. holistic) perspective on life and the task of engineering responsible technology.