June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.729.1 - 22.729.8
From Defense to Degree: Accelerating Engineering Degree Opportunities for Military VeteransThis paper addresses curricular issues involved in integrating post-9/11 veterans into theengineering workforce. A recent NSF Workshop on Enhancing the Post-9/11 VeteransEducational Benefit indicates that new, more generous veterans’ educational benefits create anopportunity to expand the technical workforce while benefitting those who have served ourcountry. The workshop further indicates that the veterans include a diverse and qualified pool offuture talent for the nation’s engineering and science employers.There are two main aspects to this project: (1) an accelerated track for veterans into engineeringbachelor’s degrees in engineering for those with no bachelor’s degree or with a non-technicaldegree and (2) bridging to engineering master’s degrees for those with bachelor’s degrees intechnical non-engineering areas. The initial focus will be in the renewable energy and energydistribution systems area. Energy has been identified as a critical area where there is a largeprojected shortage of trained technical personnel. A recent NSF Workshop on the Future PowerEngineering Workforce indicated “a serious need is emerging for more power and energyengineers.” The IEEE Power and Energy Society has also indicated that “Immediate action mustbe taken to avoid letting a growing shortage of well-qualified electric power engineers slowprogress in meeting critical national objectives.”This paper will focus on the accelerated track for military veterans into bachelor’s degrees inengineering. It is important to have contact with the military veteran prior to their arriving oncampus to start school. An initial thorough evaluation of the veterans’ training, experiences, andexpertise will be conducted with the option of granting academic credit where appropriate.Current policies give little credit for military experience or training. The next step will be to usethe initial evaluation to identify areas where the veteran has the technical background but may belacking the necessary mathematics or have not used the mathematics for a long time. Thedevelopment of on-line review courses will be used to accelerate the veterans entry into thetraditional math sequence. The creation of accelerated courses specifically for veterans enrolledin the program will be another aspect used to accelerate degree completion. Veterans may havea base of technical knowledge acquired through the technical nature of their assignments.Assigning them to introductory level courses with traditional freshman and sophomore studentsdoes not respect their technical expertise nor challenge their capabilities and accustomed pace.Another aspect of this project is the inclusion of summer internships for participants.Student success in the accelerated courses and follow-on courses will be the primary evaluationmetric. This evaluation will take place once there are a significant number of students in theprogram.There are many additional support structures that may or may not be available on any givencampus. Key supporting components include the development of strategies to inform veterans ofengineering workforce opportunities and the recruitment activities, and coordination withcampus military veteran support staff and personnel at nearby military installations.Understanding what is available is an important part of the overall success of a program.
Soldan, D. L., & Schulz, N. N., & Vogt, B. A., & Gruenbacher, D., & Natarajan, R. (2011, June), From Defense to Degree: Accelerating Engineering Degree Opportunities for Military Veterans Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18010
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