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Educating The Aerospace Engineer Of 2016

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Undergraduate-Industry-Research Linkages

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.503.1 - 10.503.12



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Paper Authors

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Mark Maughmer

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

Educating the Aerospace Engineer of 2016

Narayanan Komerath, Mark D. Maughmer Georgia Institute of Technology / The Pennsylvania State University

Abstract The U.S. aerospace industry is changing rapidly, from vertically integrated development and manufacturing to “large system integration” as their main business. Driven by global competition, the new capabilities also enable the realization of some grand dreams of humanity. This paper lays out two scenarios and argues that leadership will reach or exceed the optimistic scenario. This scenario is used to gauge implications for engineering education. The needs for depth and breadth must be balanced. Skills in developing business cases, teamwork and cross- disciplinary learning must be addressed. Emphasis must shift from measuring “teaching” to “learning”, “applying” and “innovating”. Examples of modern “best-practices” are used to lay out some of the essential elements for the new aerospace engineering education. Introduction Curricular innovations started today will influence corporate leadership when the Classes of 2005 – 2009 are some ten years beyond graduation. We use present assumptions to develop two example scenarios aimed to straddle the reality of 2016. This paper was inspired by our experience this summer as Boeing A.D. Welliver Fellows, when we were able to compare perspectives from academia, U.S. industry and the global marketplace. The paper is condensed from one of the reports that we submitted to Boeing. Around the time that our summer fellowships ended, the National Academy of Engineering released their report on The Ingenious Engineer of 2020.1 The NAE also used scenarios on a grand scale. One related to the effects of continued automation and commercialized bio- nanotechnology on a corporate lifestyle. One visualized a natural disaster – a tsunami caused by an asteroid impact, devastating the Pacific Northwest – brought home all too vividly by the catastrophe in Asia at the end of 2004. A third envisaged global conflict with weapons of mass destruction. Our project is much less ambitious in scope, and is focused on how aerospace engineering undergraduates must be educated starting this year. We note that the aerospace enterprise has consistently brought a large trade surplus to the US for several decades and has generally managed to lead innovation through the past century. Recent aerospace industry changes appear to be driven by an imperative for cost cutting – a process described recently by airline employee representatives as a “race to the bottom”. This process, followed to its extremes, results in a very negative scenario – albeit one that is logical based on passive reaction to dynamic constraints. On the other hand, current trends also open up exciting opportunities to move to an entirely new level where very large, global projects become

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ASEE 2005, American Society for Engineering Education.

Maughmer, M. (2005, June), Educating The Aerospace Engineer Of 2016 Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15534

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