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Building and Sustaining

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Distance Education and Engineering Workforce Professional Development

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.4.1 - 23.4.11



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Paper Authors


Ed Alef Rochester College

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Edward Raymond Alef
•Walsh College (Troy, Mi): Vice-President and First Dean, 1970-80
•Derderian & Co, CPAs (Troy, Mi): Principal, 1980-84
•General Motors Corporation (Detroit, Mi): Technical Fellow-Education and Founder of the General Motors Global Technical Education Program, 1984-08
•Rochester College (Rochester, Mi): Adjunct Faculty; General Motors Corporation: Academic Counsel, 2008 to Present
•BBA, MBA, Global Energy Graduate Certificate: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
•BACCT: Walsh College
•MA: Wayne State University
•MSES: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
•MS: Indiana University
•Strategic Decision & Risk Management Graduate Certificate: Stanford University
•Directed Research in Lean and Strategic Continuing Education: Purdue University & Accelerated Testing: Iowa State University
•T. Bergquist, Director: Chalmers University (Sweden)
•D. Berg, Professor and Past President: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
•A. DiPaulo, Dean: Stanford University
•H. Peng, Professor and Director: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
•M. Russo-Llopart, Professor: Carnegie Mellon University
•T. Stephens, Retired Vice-Chairman: General Motors Company
•General Motors Award of Excellence (2)
•General Motors President’s Award for Outstanding Performance (5)
•Recognition Awards from Foundations, Professional Societies, and Universities (23)

•Quantitative Methods: Tools for More Effective Business Decisions, Rochester College, 4th Printing, 2011
•Learning Factory, University Press, 2nd Printing, 1996
•“Small Business Computerization”, The Detroiter and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA), October, 1980
•“Certifying Senior Technical Professionals”, Industry and Higher Education,
August, 1997
•“Successful University Partnerships”, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) 1997 Conference
•“Optimizing Graduate Education for Today’s Practicing Engineers”, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1997 Conference
•“Successful Model for Corporate-University Collaboration”, International Association for Continuing Engineering education (IACEE), 2001 5th World Conference, in partnership with the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
•“Designing Engineer Educational Partnership Model”, IACEE 2001 5th World Conference, in partnership with Michigan Technological University
•“Reengineering a Successful Graduate Program”, IACEE 2001 5th World Conference, in partnership with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
•“Developing Product and Manufacturing Integration Engineers”, IACEE 2001 5th World Conference, in partnership with Purdue University
•“34 Top Global Universities with Research Aligned to the Automotive and Automotive-Related Industries World-Wide”, GM Research Memorandum 220-001, 2009
•“Building Organizational Competitive Advantages with Strategically Aligned Technical Degrees”, IEEE 2010 23rd Annual Computer Science and Software Engineering Education and Training Conference, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University
•“Enhancing Engineering Education Using Strategic Corporate-University Partnerships”, Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration (CIEC), CIEC 2011 Conference, in partnership with General Motors Company
•Member Emeritus: Walsh College Curriculum Development Committee
•Fund-Raiser: Ashley’s Friends and Ronald McDonald House Charities
•Peer Review Board Member: American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and Conference for Software Engineering Education and Training (CSEE&T)

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Soma Chakrabarti University of Kansas

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Dr. Soma Chakrabarti is the director of the Center for Engineering and Interdisciplinary Professional Education (CEIPE) and the associate director of Continuing Education at the University of Kansas. She provides strategic direction in business development to the units of Aerospace Short Course Program, Engineering Technology Certificate Program, Engineering Management Certificate Program, engineering conferences and interdisciplinary engineering short courses, and develops and implements industry-academia-government collaborations in continuing engineering education. As an associate director of KU Continuing Education, she is responsible for co-developing and implementing strategic initiatives in international partnerships, new program development and university-industry collaborations. She has a doctorate in biochemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

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BUILDING AND SUSTAINING AN IDEAL TECHNICAL CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAMHow would you build and sustain a technical continuing education program that would bepositioned as a critical core value, not just an employee benefit, within a business or governmentorganization?Additionally, how would you assure that this program maintained its critical core value statuswithin that organization long after the founding innovators and champions who instilled passionand vision into it are retired from the scene?This article outlines the mission, strategic construct, and operating philosophy of such a programthat answers these two questions with inputs and conclusions from two main sources.The first source is the chronicled experience gained from the General Motors TechnicalEducation Program (TEP) from inception through growth and cultural acceptance as a core valuewithin GM. But this program that captured over 30 national and international awards, realizedover $400M in cost savings, generated multiple patents, survived the GM bankruptcy, andoutlived Pontiac, SAAB, Saturn, and Oldsmobile within a twenty five year span is not ideal andnecessitates continuous improvement and planned innovation in areas vital to sustaining strengthin its core value position. Still, it possesses strong and admirable attributes that help comprisethe ideal model.The second source is a compilation and synthesis of the strengths of other technical continuingeducation programs operated by other business and government organizations that arerepresented by respective university partners who participated in a survey to document thesestrengths.The criterion for selection for strengths within the ideal model are based on sound evidence thatthese strengths made the difference between survival and death in periods of sever budget cutswhere core value priority rather than “favorite son” positioning is the real and only measure ofthe final result.These two sources of input and criterion selection of strength combine to provide thecomponents for a model program that has greater potential for long term impact andsustainability than any individual participant program. Some of the results presented in this paperwill likely be anticipated by the reader. Some may be surprising. But all of the conclusionscapsulated within the resultant model contribute to an impactful and sustainable program.

Alef, E., & Chakrabarti, S. (2013, June), Building and Sustaining Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19013

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