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Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology: Addressing the Change in Industry Workforce Needs

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Issues in Engineering Technology Education II

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Jay R. Porter Texas A&M University

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Jay R. Porter joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in 1998 and is currently a Professor in the Electronics Systems Engineering Technology program and the Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Studies. He received the BS degree in electrical engineering (1987), the MS degree in physics (1989), and the Ph.D. in electrical engineering (1993) from Texas A&M University. His areas of interest in research and education include product development, analog/RF electronics, instrumentation, and entrepreneurship.

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Joseph A. Morgan Texas A&M University

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Joseph A. Morgan has over 20 years of military and industry experience in electronics and communications systems engineering. He joined the Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution Department in 1989 and has served as the Program Director of the Electronics and Telecommunications Programs and as the Associate Department Head for Operations. He has served as Director of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer in the private sector and currently a partner in a small start-up venture. He received his BS degree in electrical engineering (1975) from California State University, Sacramento, and his MS (1980) and DE (1983) degrees in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University. His education and research interests include project management, innovation and entrepreneurship, and embedded product/system development.

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Wei Zhan Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Wei Zhan is an Associate Professor and program coordinator of Electronic Systems Engineering Technology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Zhan earned his D.Sc. in Systems Science from Washington University in St. Louis in 1991. From 1991 to 1995, he worked at University of California, San Diego and Wayne State University. From 1995 to 2006, he worked in the automotive industry as a system engineer. In 2006 he joined the Electronics Engineering Technology faculty at Texas A&M. His research activities include control system theory and applications to industry, system engineering, robust design, modeling, simulation, quality control, and optimization.

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Michael Johnson Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Michael D. Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M, he was a senior product development engineer at the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and his S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on design tools; specifically, the cost modeling and analysis of product development and manufacturing systems; computer-aided design methodology; and engineering education.

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Over the past ten years, industry that hires engineering and engineering technology graduates has put a large emphasis on education that crosses the boundaries of traditional technical disciplines. For example, in the oil and gas industry, there is a growing need for new hires that have expertise in integrating electrical and mechanical systems to create, operate, and maintain intelligent electromechanical systems. To this end, the Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution Department at _____________ is proposing a new program entitled “Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology.”

The new program, which will reside in ____________ College of Engineering, will be based on a strong engineering technology core curriculum that incorporate fundamentals in mechanics, thermodynamics, materials, electronics, programming, instrumentation and project management. The students can then customize their degree through faculty-designed, twenty-seven credit hour emphases that are based on technical areas identified though industry/faculty collaboration. In this way, the program will be versatile and able to respond to changing industry needs. For example, the first emphasis will be in mechatronic systems where the students will augment their core knowledge with courses in embedded systems, control systems, fluid power systems, and mechanical/electronic system design. The mechatronics emphasis was identified through multiple sources including industrial advisory committee meetings, industry visits and specific industry requests.

Currently the program is going through the university request for approval process and will officially begin in Fall 2016. In the interim, the faculty is developing the new courses required in mechatronics and is working with industry to identify at least two additional emphasis areas. Because of the structure of the program and the fact that it leverages existing coursework, it will not require a substantial investment of resources in the beginning. Finally, it is envisioned that the new program will be accredited through ASEE based on the general engineering technology criteria.

This paper will discuss the details of the new Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology curriculum, the efforts made to create emphasis areas, the approval process, and the recruitment of the first class of students. It will also summarize the efforts that led to the program design.

Porter, J. R., & Morgan, J. A., & Zhan, W., & Johnson, M. (2016, June), Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology: Addressing the Change in Industry Workforce Needs Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25762

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