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Educating Engineers For Multiscale Systems Design In A Global Economy: The Technology Leaders Program

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.507.1 - 14.507.19



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Paper Authors

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Reid Bailey University of Virginia

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Benjamin Choo University of Virginia

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Heather Rowan-Kenyon University of Virginia

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Amy Swan University of Virginia

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Marie Shoffner University of Virginia

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

Educating Engineers for Multiscale Systems Design in a Global Economy: the Technology Leaders Program Abstract

With the rate of technological change growing rapidly and technological systems becoming increasingly complex, engineers capable of designing adaptable systems from both a systems level and a component level are needed for the U.S. to remain competitive. Most engineering schools fail to meet the growing need for engineers skilled in multiscale design: they educate engineers to handle systems issues or component issues, but not both. Furthermore, engineering education focuses on designing static, “point” solutions, not agile solutions that can adapt to change. Specifically, this project proposes the development of Technology Leaders, a transportable interdisciplinary program that will prepare engineers and technicians to lead teams in the designing and building of multiscale agile systems.

Building on prior work at the University of ___A___, ___B___ Community College, and the Learning Factory at Penn State, the Technology Leaders program will integrate three elements: a new interdisciplinary, design-focused undergraduate curriculum; the hands-on Technology Leaders Program Lab (TLP Lab); and applied summer experiences. Grounded in constructivist learning theory, the interdisciplinary curriculum will focus on design throughout the undergraduate experience by incorporating multiple interconnected real-world problems into the courses. The curriculum will be developed for both four-year university and two-year community college students. As part of the curriculum, Technology Leaders students from all years will participate together in a learning community focused on developing leadership skills, fostering a sense of belonging, and providing space for reflection and student-led curriculum design. The TLP Lab will consist of easily reconfigurable multiscale hardware (e.g., servers, motes), software (e.g., service-oriented-architecture based products, peer-to-peer networks), multiple networks (e.g., Internet, 802.11, Zigbee), and test and evaluation tools (e.g., Network Sim, emulation tools) at multiple facilities including the University of ___A___, ___B___ Community College, and industrial partners. All students will complete summer industrial internships or research experiences before graduation with Technology Leaders industrial and research partners.

The Technology Leaders Program is being implemented over the course of four years beginning in Fall 2008, with our first students graduating in Spring 2012. The first year focus is on developing the TLP Lab and integrating it into first-year courses as a means of marketing the program. To this end, the lab was built, one section of the first-year introduction to engineering design course has been completely redesigned to incorporate the TLP Lab, the Technology Leaders Community is meeting monthly, and the lab will be utilized in an introductory electrical engineering survey course. In addition to an overview of the entire Technology Leaders program, results from these initial activities are presented in the paper.


The purpose of this paper is to describe the Technology Leaders Program (TLP) at the University of ___A___ and report on the first stage of its implementation. The TLP is aimed at preparing engineers and technicians to lead geographically-distributed teams in the designing and building

Bailey, R., & Choo, B., & Rowan-Kenyon, H., & Swan, A., & Shoffner, M. (2009, June), Educating Engineers For Multiscale Systems Design In A Global Economy: The Technology Leaders Program Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5263

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