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Public Interest in Technology: Enabling the Next-Gen Engineer with Project Management Skills for the Public Sector - A Community College Case Study

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Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference



Publication Date

April 9, 2021

Start Date

April 9, 2021

End Date

April 10, 2021

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Dimitrios Stroumbakis PE City University of New York, Queensborough Community College

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Dimitrios Stroumbakis, holds a BSME / MSME from Polytechnic University (Summa Cum Laude), and Columbia University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in NY. Prior to transitioning to Academia, Dimitri acquired 24 yrs of experience in the undersea photonics systems industry contributing to the development of over 50 electro-optic devices for commercial and military markets. He served on two national industry standards groups and as core Team member, received two industry awards "Cisco's Optics Supplier of the Year" Award and "IBM's Quality Partner of the Year" Award.

Dimitri is an Assistant Professor at Queensborough Community College (CUNY) and has a strong interests in leveraging instructional technology, Flipped Class Room Learning, and online student-centered pedagogy. He is a strong advocate of authentic industry partnering at several levels to enhance students' job-readiness upon graduating. Dimitri's recent research has been in Micro-Fluidics Systems for DNA sequencing applications.

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The purpose of this paper is to document our pedagogical approach for introducing the community college student to the important and growing field of applying their engineering skills for the good of the Public Interest, otherwise known as "Public Interest in Technology" (PIT). Founded by the Ford Foundation, the PIT initiative advocates the need for engineers and technologists to augment their professional skills to be explicitly concerned with issues of social, political, and general public good. With this in mind, we created a series of learning modules complete, with laboratory and field visit activities, to expose our students to the importance of Public Sector Service (Construction, Municipalities, Non-Profit R&D sectors, etc.) in the area of Project Management and Technology Ethics.

Project management is a ubiquitous skill set imperative to both private and public sectors, but under used in most of the public sectors and services. In this paper, we developed new subject matter to indoctrinate the student to Project Management (PM) training, consisting of 6 student-centered lecture modules and four laboratory & field visit modules, aligned for serving the public good. The modules use a strong student-centered pedagogy and covers software scheduling tools, basics of schedule management, and use of critical-path methods. Laboratory case studies and field visits are varied according to the student learning objectives, ranging from case studies in under served communities to actual field visits with municipality assembly management, to visiting NYC’s ground zero public service providers in planning and construction. The field visits expose the student to experiential, authentic real-life learning by direct and observational participation with public works and services, helps build professional communication skills, and demonstrates need and value project management by seeking to offer training to select public sectors of various levels.

Stroumbakis, D. (2021, April), Public Interest in Technology: Enabling the Next-Gen Engineer with Project Management Skills for the Public Sector - A Community College Case Study Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . 10.18260/1-2--36314

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