ME Seminar (ME 100)

a syllabus

Course description

This seminar course gives an introduction to Mechanical Engineering and to engineering design principles. ME faculty and guest speakers expose students to work that mechanical engineers do in a variety of fields. Strategies for success in engineering school and in engineering careers are discussed. Engineering problem-solving and design principles are introduced and practiced by students via simple design activities. This course should be taken during the first fall semester in residence at Saint Martin’s University as an ME student. Graded on a pass/fail basis. (Adopted from the course catalog.)

General information

Rico AR Picone, PhD
Actual office hours (CH 103C)
T 4-5, W 1-2, Th 4-5
Virtual office hours (zoom link, make appointment!)
F 1-3
Virtual office hours appointments
make appointment
Class Location
Harned 215
W 12:00–12:50 pm
Zoom (password sent separately)



This is a seminar course. We will primarily be reading a text and discussing it in class, but we will also have faculty from the department visit. If you do the reading and show up to class, you’ll get something out of it.

We’ll mostly talk about engineering design, mechanical engineering, the SMU ME department, how to succeed in the program, and the resources available to you as an ME student.

This is mostly a participation course. Try to make it to every class. If you’re ill, please don’t come. I’m serious about this. Just let me know what’s up—no doctor’s note required.

I’ll do my best to open a Zoom call for every class. I encourage you to attend in person, but if you can’t make it for whatever reason, try to participate remotely the best you can. I might make the recordings of the live session available if it seems like it would be helpful, but I don’t think this is that kind of course.


Nigel Cross. Engineering Design Methods: Strategies for Product Design. Fifth (or Fourth) Edition. Wiley, 2021. (Required.)


Everyone is required to join the messaging service called “Slack.” We’ll use it to communicate with each other during the semester. The Slack team you need to join is called drrico. That’s a signup link. Be sure to join the channel #100.


The following schedule is tentative.

day activities/reading
What is an ME degree?
Engineering student club representatives
Dr. Frank Washko visits
Cross Preface and Chapter 1
Introducing the ME faculty
Cross Chapters 2 and 3
Tour of the Makerspace
Cross Chapter 4
Mrs. Leslie Washko visits
Cross Chapter 5
Mrs. Shelbie Wickett (Davis) visits
Cross Chapter 6
Dr. Shawn Duan visits
Cross Chapter 7
Cross Chapter 8
Advising day (no class)
Cross Chapter 9 and 10
Cross Chapter 11
Thanksgiving (no class)
Cross Chapters 12 and 13
Cross Chapter 14
Final Exam Week (no final exam in ME 100)

ME Seminar Podcast

I have been recording occasional podcasts for this seminar introducing faculty and alumni. I encourage you to check it out. I make it for you.

Academic integrity policy

Cheating or plagiarism of any kind is not tolerated and will result in a failing grade (“F”) in the course. I take this very seriously. Engineering is an academic and professional discipline that requires integrity. I expect students to consider their integrity of conduct to be their highest consideration with regard to the course material.

Cheating is academic dishonesty as well as unprofessional for prospective teachers. Do not copy other students' assignments, have someone else write your papers or plagiarize published or unpublished materials, or submit work previously graded by other instructors. See Saint Martin's University Student Handbook. Students will be graded not only on their academic success, but on professional conduct as well. Students who fail to show professionalism in their academic or personal conduct (e.g. constant tardiness, excessive absences, and/or other unprofessional behavior) may earn a lower letter grade than the total of semester accumulated points, or may even earn a failing grade.

What is academic integrity? Saint Martin’s University is a community of faculty, students and staff engaged in the exchange of ideas in the ongoing pursuit of academic excellence. Essential to our mission is a focused commitment to scholarly values and intellectual integrity, and a respect for the ideas, beliefs and work of others. This commitment extends to all aspects of academic performance. All members are expected to abide by ethical standards both in their conduct and their exercise of responsibility to themselves and toward other members of the community. As an expression of our shared belief in the Benedictine tradition, we support the intellectual, social, emotional, physical and spiritual nurturing of students.

What is academic dishonesty? Saint Martin’s University defines academic dishonesty as violating the academic integrity of an assignment, test and/or evaluation of any coursework. This dishonest practice occurs when you seek to gain for yourself or another an academic advantage by deception or other dishonest means. You have a responsibility to understand the requirements that apply to particular assessments and to be aware of acceptable academic practice regarding the use of material prepared by others. Therefore, it is your responsibility to be familiar with the policies surrounding academic dishonesty as these may differ from other institutions.

Access and accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Support Services (DSS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DSS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but are not limited to mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DSS at 360-438-4580 or or DSS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DSS. It is the policy and practice of the Saint Martin’s University to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Sexual misconduct/sexual harassment reporting

Saint Martin’s University is committed to providing an environment free from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. There are Title IX/sexual harassment posters around campus that include the contact information for confidential reporting and formal reporting. Confidential reporting is where you can talk about incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. This confidential resource can help you without having to report your situation to the formal reporting process through the Dean of Students – Ms. Melanie Richardson, Associate VP of Human Resources – Ms. Cynthia Johnson, Public Safety – Ms. Sharon Schnebly, or the Office of the Provost – Dr. Kathleen Boyle, unless you request that they make a report. Please be aware that, in compliance with Title IX and under the Saint Martin’s University policies, educators must report incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. If you disclose any of these situations in class, on papers, or to me personally, I am required to report it.

University sanctioned activities

If a student is absent from class due to university sanctioned activities, such as sports, it is the student's responsibility to request that the absence be excused, otherwise, the absence will be recorded as unexcused. Absent students are responsible for catching up with the class, and if any assignments are due on the day of the absence, it is the student's responsibility to turn in the assignments on time (prior to class).

Religious Accommodation

Saint Martin’s University, in honor of the sacredness of the individual, and being deeply rooted in the Catholic Benedictine tradition of higher education, values the many religious and spiritual practices of our campus community. Saint Martin’s University supports our students in their ongoing journey of becoming. In compliance with Washington State Law RCW 28B.137.010, Saint Martin’s University reasonably accommodates students for reasons of religious observances.

Center for Learning, Writing, and Advising

The Center for Student Success offers free academic services for all Saint Martin’s students. The Center provides subject-area peer tutoring in science, technology, nursing, engineering, math, business, accounting, economics, world languages and other subjects. At the Writing Center, students meet with writing tutors to discuss their academic, personal, and professional writing. The Advising Center works with students on academic advising, connecting with campus support resources, transition and self-exploration guidance, personalized academic improvement plans, learning workshops, and support for changing majors. Disability Support Services is also located in the Center for any student with a disability who needs accommodations. For more information on the Center for Student Success, or to sign up for a tutoring, advising, or DSS meeting, see the website:

Correlation of course & program outcomes

In keeping with the standards of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, each course is evaluated in terms of its desired outcomes and how these support the desired program outcomes. The following sections document the evaluation of this course.

Desired course outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the following course outcomes are desired:

  1. Students will demonstrate an ability apply engineering design principles to complete basic engineering tasks.
  2. Students will demonstrate an ability to work effectively in groups in design activities.

Desired program outcomes

In accordance with ABET’s student outcomes, our desired program outcomes are that mechanical engineering graduates have:

  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Correlation of outcomes

The following table correlates the desired course outcomes with the desired program outcomes they support.

desired program outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
desired course outcomes 1