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A Distance Education Graduate Program In Engineering Management A 10 Year Success Story

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.11.1 - 4.11.5

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Paper Authors

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William Daughton

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

Session 2642

A Distance Education Program in Engineering Management A 10-year Success Story William J. Daughton University of Colorado at Boulder


The Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program at the University of Colorado has been offering graduate degrees and professional certification for ten years. The program has been substantially funded by Lockheed Martin Corporation and was created to prepare full-time working engineers for early management assignments. Over 150 engineers at many companies, large and small, have successfully completed the program while continuing to hold professional positions. Since its beginning in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area, the program has gradually expanded to reach engineers across the United States and around the world. Today there are over 120 graduate students accessing the program through modern distance education technology. The program structure, characteristics, and key success factors are presented, and the improvements being made to enrich the learning experience of distance education students are addressed.


The program evolved from discussion between the College of Engineering and Applied Science and local industry about the need to provide engineers with a practical set of management skills prior to undertaking early management assignments. High technology companies, such as the then Martin Marietta, were concerned that many engineers were entering management positions responsible for project or development teams or promoted to managers of small departments or work groups with little preparation. Ironically, these opportunities sometimes came as a reward for a job well done for engineering contributions but placed the individual in an awkward position. As Matson1 and Lancaster2 have recently reported, and this author observed while working in industry, engineers usually find themselves very poorly equipped to take on their management assignments. To exacerbate this situation, many individuals cannot leave the workplace for an extended period to obtain the essential management education. In some cases this even extends to attending during evenings and on weekends. Our students report to us3 that business travel, work crises, and family obligations make attendance at regularly scheduled classes very difficult. In recent years, it seems that extended business travel and remote work assignments have become quite common, which greatly interferes with participating in traditional courses.

Just recognizing the need for management preparation does not address the reality that engineers often move into management positions before that preparation can be completed. As a result, there was a clear need to provide practical management techniques and methods in addition to

Daughton, W. (1999, June), A Distance Education Graduate Program In Engineering Management A 10 Year Success Story Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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