June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.646.1 - 12.646.11
Engineering Management within a Systems Engineering Program Introduction
Designing curricula may seem to be just another design effort, similar to other design projects. And this might be a reasonable analogy if the design project is considered in its entirety, from assessing marketplace needs all the way through to design and quality verification. Thus, one might have this mindset when designing a new graduate curriculum in systems engineering, which is the primary focus of this paper. Just as in other design projects, there are a multitude of concerns and issues that must be addressed in curriculum design. For example, is the curriculum necessary? Who are the intended students? What are their motivations for pursuing this curriculum? What should be the learning objectives of the program? How should the content be segmented into individual courses? What are the core concepts and required courses? Should there be electives, specializations, or concentrations? And if so, what should they be?
This paper will discuss curriculum design for a new Master’s degree program in systems engineering, moving from a broad guidelines for graduate program development to the specifics of developing the MS Systems Engineering program (MSSyE) at National University’s School of Engineering and Technology. Most particularly, the focus will be on incorporating principles of engineering management into the MSSyE curriculum. This answers the question regarding which specializations, if any, should be included in this new curriculum, and why engineering management should be one of them. It also shows how this was accomplished according to a limited body of graduate curriculum design knowledge.
Systems Engineering and Engineering Management Relationships
Systems engineering, by its very nature, is not specialized and even seems to be difficult to define. According to Blanchard and Fabrycky1, “to this day, there is no commonly accepted definition of systems engineering in the literature.” They go on to provide five definitions, one of which is shown below, from the International Council of Systems Engineers (INCOSE):
Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem: operations, performance, test, manufacturing, cost and schedule, training and support, and disposal. Systems Engineering integrates all the disciplines and specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation. Systems Engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user needs.
Based on the five definitions provided, they then provide four common themes of systems engineering: 1) a top-down approach, viewing the system as a whole entity; 2) a life cycle orientation; 3) a better and more complete initial definition of system requirements; and, 4) an interdisciplinary team approach. These authors then indicate that systems engineering is highly
Elson, J., & Viswanathan, S., & Evans, H. (2007, June), Engineering Management Within A Systems Engineering Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2787
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