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Pd21: An Education Consortium For Product Development Leadership

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

New Programs and Success Stories

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.914.1 - 7.914.8



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Paper Authors

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Mark Smith

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Denny Mahoney

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Main Menu Session 2342

PD21: An Education Consortium for Product Development Leadership

Mark Smith, Denny Mahoney, Wally Owen, Hriday Prasad, Warren Seering Rochester Institute of Technology/Massachusetts Institute of Technology/ Naval Postgraduate School/University of Detroit Mercy/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Business survival and growth is critically dependent upon the ability to develop new products and services, yet there has been a distinct scarcity of educational programs whose overarching focus is product development. With support from the NSF and the Center for Innovation in Product Development (CIPD) at MIT, a university consortium was formed in 1998 to disseminate a Master of Science program focused on product development leadership. This paper reviews the evolution of “PD21”, the “Education Consortium for Product Development Leadership in the 21 st Century,” from creation of the template Master’s degree program at MIT and formation of the consortium, to the transfer of curriculum to three other member schools (RIT, the University of Detroit-Mercy, and the Naval Postgraduate School), to the future of the consortium. 1 Attention is given to the complexities and challenges associated with collaboration within and between universities.


Recognizing the intimate relationship between new product development (NPD) and business growth, companies worldwide are investing heavily to enhance performance across the broad spectrum of activities that comprise the total life cycle product development system. In 1996, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) founded the Center for Innovation in Product Development (CIPD) to link academic research with industrial experience as part of an overarching objective to advance the theory and practice of NPD. Industrial partners within CIPD, while reaping the benefits of applied research, also understood the importance of cultivating leaders within their organizations who could drive the adoption of best practices in NPD. Therefore, in 1998, CIPD, MIT, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) joined together with key industrial sponsors to form an educational consortium for the purpose of disseminating a Master’s degree program that would provide the educational foundation needed by future leaders of technology-based organizations. “PD21”, the “Education Consortium for Product Development Leadership in the 21st Century,” was established to address a gap between existing academic programs and a business need for technically grounded leaders, individuals with a strong systems perspective and knowledge base in both engineering and management. 1 Instead of creating a “concentration” within an established degree framework (eg. MBA or MSIE), PD21 partners viewed product development as the driving principle, supported as necessary by business and

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Smith, M., & Mahoney, D. (2002, June), Pd21: An Education Consortium For Product Development Leadership Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10397

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