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Collaboration: The Key To Preparing Engineering Managers

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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

4.125.1 - 4.125.6

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Wade Shaw

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

Session 2542

Collaboration: The Key to Preparing Engineering Managers Wade H. Shaw Florida Institute of Technology


In this paper we develop the role of collaboration in an academic setting to offer a flexible graduate degree in engineering management. Collaboration among academic departments, among students and faculty, and among industrial partners is combined to provide a high quality experience for students. We share our efforts to support collaboration among students by using web-based conferencing tools and asynchronous course materials. Finally, we extend the collaboration model in the university to the professional environment where engineering managers work with associates in R&D, production/operations, and marketing to design and develop products and services. We believe that the same collaboration skills mastered in school extend to the workplace and prepare students for highly productive careers.

I. Introduction

The Engineering Management Program at Florida Tech has combined cutting edge technology with a collaborative work culture to steadily grow and meet the educational needs of a diverse student body 1. By offering courses that are unique to engineering management using streamed media, web-based conferencing, and wireless communications our program has been able to rapidly adapt to changing needs in engineering education. We use the entire college of engineering as a source of technical focus courses, the MBA core from our school of business for key management courses, and specialized engineering management courses to prepare leaders in technology and business. This low cost approach allows us to attract a wide variety of technical specialists into our program that are welcomed by our university affiliates.

The key strategy that is working for us is to use technology to allow collaboration among students and faculty. The increasing complexity of engineering design that demands coordination of many diverse technical disciplines requires engineers and managers to use collaboration tools that can also be used in educational environments. This paper describes how we are using conferencing tools, discussion groups, case studies and design projects in an asynchronous collaboration. We have moved traditional lecture materials to media accessible on the web and focus our valuable face-to-face class time on creative problem solving. The collaboration that we have developed essentially becomes an asynchronous network for a community of users focused on specific outcomes.

Collaboration takes place within the traditional academic setting where students interact with other students and faculty as well as later in their careers where success is often dependent on effective relationships with other professionals in business organizations. Our goal in this paper is to extend the concept of collaboration among students to include the organizational level in a university where an engineering management program resides. Collaboration with industry and

Shaw, W. (1999, June), Collaboration: The Key To Preparing Engineering Managers Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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