How we teach: Unit operations laboratory

Margot A. Vigeant, David L. Silverstein, Kevin D. Dahm, Laura P. Ford, Jennifer Cole, Lucas James Landherr

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


One of the truly distinctive elements of a chemical engineering undergraduate experience is working with larger-scale process equipment in a laboratory setting. Unit Operations courses seek to expose students to the type and scale of equipment they are likely to see in industry and to equip them with the ability to analyze the behavior of these systems as well as have a true "feel" for how they work (or don't work quite as expected). For the 2017 survey, the AIChE Education Division Survey Committee focused on the laboratory portion of the chemical engineering undergraduate curriculum. over 70 programs completed the survey, which asked about course structure, hours, and experiments. The typical undergraduate takes one or two laboratory-focused courses within chemical engineering, completes experiments as part of a team, and has at least some exposure to pilot-scale equipment. Virtual experiments make up about 10% of control system experiments and are otherwise relatively uncommon. This paper reports on the survey's key findings as well as some of the highlights of innovative laboratory experience and pedagogy discussed in the results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
David L. Silverstein is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He is also the Director of the College of Engineering’s Extended Campus Programs in Paducah, Kentucky, where he has taught for 19 years. His PhD and MS studies in ChE were completed at Vanderbilt University, and his BSChE at the University of Alabama. Silverstein’s research interests include conceptual learning tools and training, and he has particular interests in faculty development. He is the recipient of several ASEE awards, including the Fahein award for young faculty teaching and educational scholarship, the Corcoran award for best article in the journal Chemical Engineering Education (twice), and the Martin award for best paper in the ChE Division at the ASEE Annual Meeting.

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2018.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)


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