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Plotting A Bright Future For Manufacturing Education: Results Of A Brainstorming Session

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Manufacturing Education Program Innovation

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.998.1 - 11.998.16



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Paper Authors

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Daniel Waldorf Cal Poly State University

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Sema Alptekin Cal Poly State University

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Robert Bjurman General Motors Global Engineering

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

Plotting a Bright Future for Manufacturing Education: Results of a Brainstorming Session


Manufacturing industries worldwide have undergone dramatic changes in recent years and now demand more from graduating manufacturing engineers. The effects of globalization have forever changed the parameters for success in manufacturing. Our educational institutions must respond to these changes with innovation. That agenda formed the basis for a special SME/CIRP international conference on manufacturing engineering education called “Looking Forward: Innovations in Manufacturing Engineering Education,” held in San Luis Obispo, California, June 22-25, 2005. At the meeting, manufacturing education professionals from around the world came together to share their own innovative ideas and to brainstorm ways to shape the future of manufacturing education so that it best meets the needs of industry. Conference sessions covered educational methods, course and program issues, collaborations, sustainability, and globalization.

The brainstorming took place during a unique, dedicated conference session that occurred near the end of the conference, ensuring that participants had opportunities to meet, exchange ideas, and become comfortable with other attendees prior to brainstorming. The session was formally chaired and hosted by a manufacturing industry representative who motivated the thirty-one session participants to come up with hundreds of ideas for improvement. Ideas were generated to address the future of manufacturing education as it relates to: • what new technologies or systems need to be covered in the curriculum, • what changes should be incorporated at both the course and program levels, • how programs should interact with industrial and professional organizations, and • what can be done to improve recruiting of new students into the field. The brainstorming was essentially an open-ended survey that functioned with the advantages of a focus group. The ideas were recorded by the participants and collected from the session. This paper discusses the data collection (i.e., brainstorming) method used and then summarizes and categorizes the ideas generated from the session. In an attempt to capture the collective wisdom shared at the session, the results are compiled to suggest a broad roadmap to guide future change in manufacturing education.


As the global economy shifts traditional skill-based manufacturing jobs overseas1, manufacturing enterprises are deciding whether and how much engineering activity can also be offshored. As enrollment in U.S. engineering schools declines2,3,4, however, many manufacturers are scrambling to ensure that a capable stream of highly-educated and talented manufacturing engineers is available in the U.S. to develop new opportunities in global markets. While offshore outsourcing of manufacturing jobs is occurring for many engineering tasks5,6,7, a continuing U.S.

Waldorf, D., & Alptekin, S., & Bjurman, R. (2006, June), Plotting A Bright Future For Manufacturing Education: Results Of A Brainstorming Session Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--888

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