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A Competency Gap In The Comprehensive Design Education

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Potpourri

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.22.1 - 13.22.11



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Paper Authors

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Vukica Jovanovic Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Mileta Tomovic Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Competency Gap in the Comprehensive Design Education Abstract

As product design and realization process are changing constantly due to new challenges in the global working environment, highly skilled workers are needed by companies who want to stay competitive. Those engineers need some new skills that are being identified as missing by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and National Association of Manufacturers. The project named Midwest Coalition for Comprehensive Design Education involves five different colleges which are working on the development of a new program that would bridge the competency gap that currently exists in the education of design and manufacturing engineers. Those institutions are working collaboratively on identification, development and delivery of a new program that will integrate comprehensive design education across associate degree technician and baccalaureate degree technology colleges, in order to increase the skill level in the manufacturing sector. The research related to the core competencies in the advanced manufacturing sector, conducted by Society of Manufacturing Engineers, was the result of complaints that were issued by many industries like automotive, aerospace, electronics and some others. These complaints related to the lack of preparation that future engineers are receiving in colleges and universities in some specific areas that were identified as critical in maintaining innovation in the product design and realization processes for the longer term. The project Midwest Coalition for Comprehensive Design Education has the following objectives: validation of competencies for comprehensive design, development of an interdisciplinary comprehensive design program between partner institutions, development and delivery of educational modules for competitiveness in the global marketplace, development of an educational program in comprehensive design focused on the existing and incumbent workforce, and development of an outreach program for high school students.


A core competency is an area of specialized expertise that is the result of harmonizing complex streams of technology and work activity1. A competency is the capability to apply or use a set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully perform critical work functions or tasks in a defined work setting. The competencies often serve as the basis for skill standards that specify the level of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for success in the workplace as well as potential measurement criteria for assessing competency attainment2. Product design, as an integrated profession, covers a wide range, including: engineering (technology, techniques, material and processing), ergonomics (operation, safety, usability), business (marketing, management, planning, corporate identity), aesthetics (form, visualization, style), and even social, environmental, and cultural issues. Design educators and professionals are always concerned with the issue of industrial designers' competencies. However, the quality of graduates is not regarded as up to a level expected by employers3, and there seems to be a gap between what students learn at school and what they are required to do in practice after graduation4.

The survey related to the core competencies in the advanced manufacturing sector, conducted by Society of Manufacturing Engineers, raised the central question asked respondents to review the professional and technical competencies that might be required of newly hired community

Jovanovic, V., & Tomovic, M. (2008, June), A Competency Gap In The Comprehensive Design Education Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3430

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