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An Innovative Strategy To Integrate Relevant Graduate Professional Education For Engineers In Industry With Continual Technological Innovation

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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

4.75.1 - 4.75.18

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Paper Authors

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Thomas G. Stanford

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Donald Keating

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

Session 1355

An Innovative Strategy to Integrate Relevant Graduate Professional Education for Engineers in Industry with Continual Technological Innovation D. A. Keating and T. G. Stanford University of South Carolina


As we approach the 21st century, the leadership of technology development and the graduate professional education of the nation’s engineers in industry who create technology will become increasingly critical components of the U.S. effort to maintain competitiveness in the global marketplace. Continual technological innovation in industry is recognized worldwide as the principal driving force for competitiveness and economic prosperity. Without diminishing the importance of scientific research, it is now evident that continual technological innovation is primarily a needs-driven creative professional practice requiring engineering leadership.

Following a review of graduate engineering education and needs assessment studies of graduate engineers in industry, it is now clear that a transformation in graduate education is needed to improve U.S. technology innovation and competitiveness in the worldwide economy. As a national priority, the educational investment in the advanced professional education of industry’s in-place graduate engineers, as primary leaders and innovators of technology, is a missing key that will impact the economic growth of our nation. While graduate education in the “context of research” has served the nation well in the training of future academics for research, there is a national need to reshape the graduate professional education of engineers who are pursuing non-research oriented professional careers in industry. This paper presents the conceptual basis for a collaborative university-industry strategy to reshape the graduate professional education of the nation’s engineers in industry in a manner commensurate with their career-long growth for professional leadership of the continual technological innovation process in industry.


At present, graduate education of the nation’s engineers is primarily a by-product of research, based on science policy and on a research-driven model of technology, largely set in place in 1945 by the Bush report, “Science: The Endless Frontier.”1 The Bush report was a landmark which outlined a program to the President for continual technological progress after the Second World War. It set the stage for national investment in postwar scientific research and in graduate education for future academic researchers which led to America’s rise in scientific research and in graduate education at the research universities.

2.1 The Research-Driven Model

The Bush report built heavily on four main themes. The first of these is that technology is science-driven and flows from basic research which is the foundation upon which all technical progress is ultimately built. The report stated, “Progress depends upon a flow of new scientific knowledge. New products, new industries, and more jobs require continuous additions to knowledge of the laws of nature and the application of that knowledge to practical purposes. Similarly, our defense against aggression demands new knowledge so that we can develop new improved weapons. This essential new knowledge can be obtained only through basic scientific research… Basic research leads to new knowledge. It provides scientific capital. It creates the fund from which the practical applications of knowledge must be drawn… Basic research is the pacemaker of technological progress.” The second theme was that “… the responsibility for the creation of new scientific knowledge — and for most of its application — rests on the small body of men and women who understand the fundamental laws of nature and are skilled in the techniques of scientific research … the number of trained scientists available … So in the last analysis, the future of science will be determined by our basic educational policy.” The third theme of the report was that to ensure technological

Stanford, T. G., & Keating, D. (1999, June), An Innovative Strategy To Integrate Relevant Graduate Professional Education For Engineers In Industry With Continual Technological Innovation Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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