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Meeting Industry Needs for Professional and Technical Skills With New Graduate Degrees

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Working at the Intersection of Industry and Academia

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

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Paper Authors


Robert J. Rabb P.E. The Citadel

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Robert Rabb is an associate professor and the Mechanical Engineering Program Director at The Citadel. He previously taught mechanical engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and his M.S.E. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests are in mechatronics, regenerative power, and multidisciplinary engineering.

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David S. Greenburg The Citadel

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Dr. Greenburg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Leadership and Program Management (ELPM) in the School of Engineering (SOE) at The Citadel. He served over 20 years of active military service, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps. During his military career he served in a variety of progressively responsible command and staff and leadership positions in Infantry, Logistics, Acquisition, and Human Resources; with peacetime and combat experience. Upon completion of active military service, Dr. Greenburg served in program leadership positions at Eagan McAllister Associates, and Science Applications International Corporation until he joined the faculty at the Citadel. Dr. Greenburg’s research interests include modeling project networks, technical decision making and leadership. Dr. Greenburg earned is BA in History at The Citadel (1981), Masters in Management from the Naval Postgraduate School (1994), and his PhD in Business Administration (Management of Engineering and Technology) from Northcentral University (2010). He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by The Project Management Institute (PMI).

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The role and latitude of the engineering profession is changing rapidly. Global issues, technological innovation, expansion of discipline boundaries, and increased professional expectations are transforming what engineers do and how they do it. Society is demanding more than discipline specific technical knowledge. The earliest engineering disciplines, civil, mechanical and electrical, have given rise to distinct engineering specialties and application‐based disciplines. Many contemporary engineering problems are considered to be multi‐disciplinary in nature and require systems thinking in problem formulation and solution. It is clear that we must educate engineering students for a technological era of increased scope, scale and complexity. Future engineering expertise will be required at a higher intellectual level than currently provided. Research and anecdotal information identify a trend in the demand for graduate level education prior to entering the workforce that encompasses both hard technical and soft non-technical skills.

To address the increasing industry demand for workers to have advanced education and the accompanying increase in undergraduate engineering enrollment, the [Institution] developed new MS graduate degrees in three programs to meet demands. By employing a multi-disciplinary approach existing non-technical graduate degree courses, focusing on management and leadership, that can be taken to fulfill electives better prepare graduate students to meet employer and industry requirements. As a result, MS engineering programs have seen increased enrollments and partnerships with other departments and industry connections. Various elective tracts provide the opportunity for students to earn graduate certificates in soft skills in addition to technical MS degree in just 10 courses. Given that the target population are working professionals, students take courses in the evening and can complete a MS degree in less than two years. This paper discusses the development of the three new MS programs with specific details on the mechanical program for technical course work paired with the project management for non-technical coursework. Additional details are provided on the development of online offerings for future students who do not have the option for face to face classes. Qualitative and quantitative student feedback are also discussed, showing the positive impact the programs have on engineering, as well as students’ positive perceptions of the programs for preparation of professional skills.

Rabb, R. J., & Greenburg, D. S. (2019, June), Meeting Industry Needs for Professional and Technical Skills With New Graduate Degrees Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33101

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