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Growing The National Innovation System: Defining The Characteristics Of Innovative Professionally Oriented Education At The Master, Doctor,

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Professional Graduate Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.613.1 - 8.613.29



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Paper Authors

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Duane Dunlap

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

Session 1455

Growing the National Innovation System: Defining the Characteristics of Innovative Professional Graduate Education at the Master, Doctor, and Fellow Level for Technology Leaders in Industry

D. D. Dunlap, 1 S. J. Tricamo, 2 D. H. Sebastian, 2 D. A. Keating, 3 T. G. Stanford 3

Western Carolina University 1 / New Jersey Institute of Technology 2 University of South Carolina 3


This is the third paper in the special panel session on reshaping professionally oriented graduate education to be more relevant to the needs of the practicing profession in industry to ensure a strong U.S. engineering workforce. This paper suggests a framework of guidelines for curricular design of innovative master, doctoral, and fellow level professional graduate programs crafted to meet the career-long needs of engineering professionals in industry and guided by the incorporation of five major attributes of high- quality graduate programs that positively affect the growth and development of working professionals. The guidelines are based on the functional requirements, tasks, and responsibilities that engineering leaders encounter throughout their professional careers. The paper presents a new vision for shaping integrated (holistic) professional graduate education for working professionals as a “system for lifelong learning” that enables their continuous professional development thereby continuously strengthening U.S. innovative capacity for competitiveness. Attention is drawn to the need to integrate graduate studies with experiential learning and the advanced practice of engineering for systematic development, innovation, and leadership of technology in industry.

1. Introduction

Whereas professional master and doctoral programs were originally established in engineering as an alternative to research-based graduate education for young resident students to pursue professionally oriented studies prior to practice. Today, most engineering professionals enter the U.S. engineering workforce immediately upon completion of their undergraduate studies. Consequently, a new opportunity for professional graduate education needs to be developed that better supports the lifelong learning needs of these graduates as high-caliber practitioners and leaders of technology throughout their active careers. Mastery of all of the skill sets that technology leaders need to acquire for successful professional careers cannot be achieved solely in the undergraduate years of a professional’s education. Experience, further learning, and actual creative practice in technology development is required.

2. Defining the Aims and Orientation of Postgraduate Professional Education for Engineering Practice, Innovation, and Technology Leadership

Experiential learning plus further graduate studies, which are relevant to the professional’s needs, plays an important role in the further professional education of engineers. Faced with the long-term career needs of increasing responsibility, (which have been identified in the second paper of this panel session), engineers require a “system” of postgraduate professional education that supports lifelong growth beyond entry-level which is concurrent with their professional practice while they are fully employed.1

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Dunlap, D. (2003, June), Growing The National Innovation System: Defining The Characteristics Of Innovative Professionally Oriented Education At The Master, Doctor, Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11726

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