Asee peer logo

Ensuring A Strong U.S. Engineering Workforce For Technology Innovation And Competitiveness: The Framework Of Professional Education For Innovation

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Professional Graduate Education & Industry

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.560.1 - 13.560.17



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Thomas Stanford University of South Carolina

author page

Roger Olson Rolls-Royce Corporation

author page

Donald Keating University of South Carolina

author page

Randall Holmes Caterpillar Inc.

Download Paper |

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

Ensuring a Strong U.S. Engineering Workforce for Technology Innovation and Competitiveness: The Framework of Professional Education for Innovation

1. Introduction

Engineering education has been the focus of numerous papers and reports in the last several decades.1-4 Almost without exception, the authors have called for changes in the way engineers are educated in a world of rapidly changing technology. Unfortunately, while the changes have that have resulted have focused on engineering education in the traditional academic context, the advanced professional education of practicing professional engineers has not received its due.5 The National Collaborative Task Force was established to address this need. Its mission is to establish high-quality professional graduate engineering education centered on the modern practice of engineering and the engineering method for innovation that enables the further professional development of engineers in industry. The focus is to further the growth of the working professional in industry. The professional curricula is being designed as a matrix of studies integrative with engineering practice that match, support, and correlate with the modern paradigm of engineering practice and progression of professional abilities required for responsible leadership in engineering innovation from entry level engineer through chief engineer level responsibilities. The evolving model is centered around five major components: a) Relevant advanced studies; b) Self-directed learning; c) Experiential-learning; d) Project-based learning [advanced technology development project directly relevant to industry / socio need]; and e) On-going engagement in engineering practice for innovation and creative works. The process is centered around the known attributes of high-quality professional education already demonstrated across the United States that enable growth and positive development of working professionals [Council of Graduate Schools ─ Conrad Report8]: a) Cultures that support collaborative learning, creativity, and innovation; b) Planned studies with tangible outcomes; c) Learner centered education rather than teacher-centered instruction; d) Learning environment of core faculty of practitioner-scholars from the university, adjunct faculty of distinguished leaders from industry, a student body of experienced practitioners from regional industry.

2. What Professional Engineers Do – The Practice of Engineering

The US Department of Labor identifies approximately 2,500,000 practicing engineers in the United States.10 These knowledge workers create most of the technologies that drive our economy. They are envied worldwide for there creativity and ingenuity. For the most part, they are employed in either industry or government service (85%) and they are involved primarily in creative technology development (72%) (See Figure 1). Engineering is a creative profession. The practice of engineering is not simply applied science. It is much more then design under constraint. The professional engineer systematically applies the Engineering Method shown below to create technologies that satisfy real world needs (See also Figure 2).

Stanford, T., & Olson, R., & Keating, D., & Holmes, R. (2008, June), Ensuring A Strong U.S. Engineering Workforce For Technology Innovation And Competitiveness: The Framework Of Professional Education For Innovation Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3268

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015