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Developing Engineering Leadership Through An Undergraduate Minor In Management Of Technology

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.195.1 - 3.195.5



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Paper Authors

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Sherra E. Kerns

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Robert T. Nash

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David V. Kerns

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

Session 2632




The development of Engineering leadership requires enhancing a wide range of capabilities within our undergraduate students. In the 21st century, the global economy and increasing levels of economic competitiveness facing our graduates suggest that issues of business and technology management are critical elements of this set. We have devised a minor program in Management of Technology to expand the perspective of engineering students.

Vanderbilt University’s Management of Technology Minor program of study is designed to provide our students the opportunity to gain a working knowledge of the fundamentals of business and engineering management. The program is open to students majoring in one of the traditional undergraduate engineering programs offered within the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering (VUSE). Approximately one-half of the students graduating from VUSE assume some form of management position within five years after graduation. Babcock’s 1989 study concludes that "two-thirds of today's engineers will spend two-thirds of their careers as managers". Clearly, engineering programs have a responsibility to prepare their students for management and leadership responsibilities.

Advisors selected from industry and academic sectors have assisted in our design of the Management of Technology Minor. Our design goal is to retain a strong technical education, centered on engineering fundamentals, as the primary focus of our traditional engineering programs. Industry expects engineering graduates to have such an education, and recruits from school that provide curricula best matching their needs. Parents and students also expect an engineering education to be grounded in discipline-specific fundamentals. Therefore, a balance must be maintained. This balance must recognize the growing importance of interdisciplinary activities and the great benefit of an understanding of some leadership, management, economic, and principles. These factors have guided our development of a minor program of study in Management of Technology.


At Vanderbilt, our working definition of Management of Technology is "an interdisciplinary program of study designed to give students the tools to competently manage technology development and innovation, to enhance manufacturing quality and productivity in a competitive international environment, and to implement these objectives successfully in the organization."

Kerns, S. E., & Nash, R. T., & Kerns, D. V. (1998, June), Developing Engineering Leadership Through An Undergraduate Minor In Management Of Technology Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7026

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