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A Curriculum on Naval Science & Technology for a Midwestern University

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Best Paper, Best Diversity Paper

Tagged Division

Ocean and Marine

Page Count

12

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36574

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36574

Download Count

75

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Paper Authors

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James Buchholz University of Iowa Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8139-7684

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James Buchholz is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Iowa. He received the Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta, and the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University. He teaches courses in fluid mechanics and conducts research in unsteady aerodynamics and hydrodynamics.

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Jae-Eun Russell University of Iowa

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Dr. Russell serves as the Director of Research & Analytics Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology. Dr. Russell conducts learning analytics research to learn about how to promote the adoption of data-informed instructional practices that support successful student learning. Her research is focused on student learning, engagement and motivation, facilitated by teaching practices, and technology adoptions in various learning environments.

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Venanzio Cichella University of Iowa

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Prof. Venanzio Cichella received his B.S. and M.S. in Automation Engineering in 2007 and 2011, respectively, from the University of Bologna, Italy. He got his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in planning and control of multiple autonomous systems. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Iowa. His research interests include cooperative control of autonomous systems, collision avoidance, optimal control, machine learning, and human-centered autonomous vehicle design.

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Casey Harwood University of Iowa

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Casey Harwood is an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and an affiliate of IIHR - Hydroscience and Engineering at the University of Iowa. He received his B.S. in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from the Webb institute, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in the same from the University of Michigan. He teaches courses in thermo-fluid dynamics and experimental methods. His research group focuses on experiments in nonlinear marine dynamics, fluid-structure interactions, and multi-phase flows.

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Shaoping Xiao University of Iowa

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Shaoping Xiao is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and an affiliate of ITI - Iowa Technology Institute (formerly CCAD) at the University of Iowa. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanics from the University of Science and Technology of China, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University. He teaches courses in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and Nonlinear Control. His research group focuses on computational material science, multiscale modeling, and robotics.

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Pablo M. Carrica University of Iowa

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P. M. Carrica is a professor with the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at The University of Iowa. He teaches courses in the area of fluid mechanics, and is an active researcher in hydrodynamics of surface and underwater vehicles, working on bubbly wakes, cavitation and maneuvering and seakeeping. His research team develops the computational naval hydrodynamics code REX.

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Abstract

A curriculum on naval science & technology has been established at a midwestern university, which takes the form of an undergraduate certificate that is earned alongside a student’s major. The program began as a Certificate in Naval Hydrodynamics, and has recently expanded to also include autonomous naval systems in order to provide a broader technical background relevant to the Navy and defense contractors.

Although the institution has a long history of Navy-sponsored graduate research – which provides a strong foundation for the undergraduate program -- it has not had a reputation for undergraduate instruction in naval science & technology. Thus, the program provides new opportunities for students to enter the field, and provides pathways to careers in the Navy and its contractors. However, there are unique challenges to the vitality of the program in these nascent stages. As we are developing recognition among regional high schools and employers of certificate graduates, we are dealing with small numbers of students, and students that are generally unaware of the types of career opportunities available in the field. Maintaining sustainable course enrollments is therefore a challenge, exacerbated by the technical prerequisite requirements that exclude most students in the university, limiting enrollment to engineering students (primarily mechanical engineers).

In addition to expanding the program to include autonomous systems, we have employed two strategies to broaden program impact and student participation. First, the courses are designed to focus on experiential learning in a manner that provides students with a rigorous and broad education involving transferable skills such as computational fluid dynamics, experimental methods, autonomous system operations, guidance, navigation and control, and leadership. This is achieved, in part, through close student-project collaboration with experts in the Navy and industry, and close interaction with faculty in the Mechanical Engineering program.

Second, we have established a student organization focused on the development of an autonomous boat. The student team competes in international competitions, which provide focus as well as participation by a much wider range of students than the formal curriculum can engage. Competition requirements ensure that the activities of the student organization are well-aligned with the curriculum, providing synergy between the curriculum and extra-curricular activities. This is fostered through the development of course activities inspired by competition events, senior design projects focused on components of the competition boat, and faculty participation in design reviews within the student organization. The student organization also enhances the visibility of the certificate program among students.

Our goals are to understand how the curriculum impacts student engagement and performance within the student organization, and vice-versa, as well as how these elements influence students’ interest in naval science & technology, and careers in that field. These results are assessed through a series of surveys conducted in undergraduate seminars (which address all students in the Mechanical Engineering program), as well as surveys and focus groups in certificate courses and the student organization.

Buchholz, J., & Russell, J., & Cichella, V., & Harwood, C., & Xiao, S., & Carrica, P. M. (2021, July), A Curriculum on Naval Science & Technology for a Midwestern University Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36574

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