Ashesi University College School of Engineering

Ashesi University College School of Engineering

The engineers tasked to solve society’s problems need a broad range of skills that will allow them to tap into ideas beyond one engineering field; they have to be entrepreneurs who can see through challenges and find solutions within a local context. They must be ethical and responsible, and see the short and long term effects of their decisions on society and the environment. They also have to be leaders who can communicate their ideas and work with teams to solve problems.

Ashesi’s Engineering Programme is designed to train such engineers. In addition to engineering specialties (computer, electrical and electronic, or mechanical), there will be a strong emphasis on foundational concepts, systems thinking and problem-solving that cross traditional boundaries. Ashesi’s Engineering graduates will bring the trademark Ashesi strengths—strong ethics, leadership skills, and a commitment to positive change— that will help create a new era of progress in African industry and infrastructure.

The goals of Ashesi’s engineering programme are:

  • Give students broad engineering skills that will enable them solve the challenging problems of our society, and core entrepreneurial skills to think about how to transfer their solutions to the marketplace.
  • Enable students to be creative and critical thinkers to find the best solutions to the problems of our society, even in situations they have never encountered before. Instill in students ethical and responsible behaviours that place doing the right thing for society and the environment above personal or professional gain.
  • Give students strong leadership skills that will enable them lead in solving the problems they encounter, and prepare students with excellent communication skills to enable them to communicate their knowledge and ideas to supervisors, colleagues, customers, and society at large.

Engineering Courses

The Engineering courses are partitioned into the following categories: General Engineering Courses, Computer Engineering Courses, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Courses, and Mechanical Engineering Courses.

General Engineering Courses 

Introduction to Engineering
This course will introduce students to engineering by using practical problems and products from their surroundings. The course will challenge students to analyze the design and function of systems by using principles from different engineering fields including computer, electrical and electronic, and mechanical engineering. Students will study the contribution of material engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering and computer engineering in making everyday objects, and the manufacturing processes needed for small and large-scale production. Students will also critically evaluate selected products from diverse perspectives: design/usability/utility, energy/environmental view, recyclability/waste/breakage, etc., to begin the conversation of the engineering profession’s responsibility and contribution to society.

Instrumentation for Engineering
This course continues the concept of measurement and measurement error that is introduced in the Physics sequence. Students study measurement systems, instruments, and measurement errors, and the use of probability and statistical analysis to design and execute experiments in the presence of measurement errors. An emphasis of the course is the design of instrumentation for experimental problem solving in real systems.

Third Year Group Project and Seminar
In their third year, engineering students will participate in a one year group project that ideally cuts across multiple engineering fields (electrical and electronic, mechanical and computer), to revisit the design process at a higher level, to deepen teamwork skills, and to reinforce system level thinking. Part 1 of the third year project is implemented through Leadership 4 for Engineers, which will address leadership, service learning, and responsibilities of the engineering profession to the community.  Projects undertaken will include a service-learning component.  Students will consider more than technical feasibility in their solutions, but also the desirability and sustainability of their solution to the community and the environment. In the course Third Year Group Project and Seminar, a weekly seminar that will facilitate group meetings and coordinate milestone completions, as well as provide a forum for discussion regarding professional issues and system level design.  Students will also be required to reflect on their teamwork experiences, their own learning, and their completed group project, and present their project in a public forum. Learning objectives for the Third Year Group Project and Seminar include a maturing of design thinking and creative thinking skills, consideration of qualities such as environmental and societal impacts of their design, deepening of system-level thinking, project management experience, teamwork and communication skills development.

System Dynamics
Students will apply a broad range of mathematical tools to systems represented by linear, lumped-parameter models. Many physical domains are considered, including translating and/or rotating mechanical, electrical, thermal and fluid systems. Planar motion of rigid bodies will also be studied. Analysis techniques include both transfer function and state-space representations. Time and frequency domain analyses are included, along with a brief introduction to Control Theory. This course includes a laboratory.

Control Systems
Students will model dynamic mechanical systems in planar motion, and use computer simulations to study them. Students build on the modeling and analysis techniques from System Dynamics to analyze and design controllers for linear systems. Practical examples from different engineering fields will be discussed. Students will analyze and design control systems in both continuous and discrete time, using both classical and modern techniques. Non-linear dynamic models are introduced.

Senior Project 1
In their final year, engineering students will undertake an individual or small group project (no more than 3 students) as a capstone experience to further their expertise in system level design, application, and the practice of the profession. These projects are supervised by faculty and sometimes by a professional from industry in addition to the faculty. The projects are designed to demand the application of skills the student has learned throughout the four years of the programme. Group projects are expected to cut across engineering disciplines and be more substantial in scope and effort than individual projects.  One option for the senior project will be working with a corporate partner on a real-world engineering design and application project, called an Ashesi-Corporate Project. In these projects, students from different engineering majors and/or other disciplines (e.g. Computer Science, MIS, or Business) will work together on a project under the direction of both an Ashesi faculty member and a corporate partner, with funding provided by the corporate partner.  Participation in Ashesi-Corporate Projects is competitive, and is not guaranteed.

Senior Project 1 runs concurrently with Project Management and Professional Practice, which will serve to guide the project management timeline of the project.  In addition, students will meet with their project supervisors regularly, and their project work will be assessed at the end of Senior Project 1.

Learning objectives include a maturation of design and system-level thinking,  project management expertise, and a deep understanding of professional issues such as certification, professional boards and oversight, communication, ethics, and responsibility to employers, customers, society, and the environment.

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