June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Systems Engineering and Multidisciplinary Engineering
22.1277.1 - 22.1277.30
SE Capstone: A Pilot Study of 14 Universities to Explore Systems Engineering Learning and Career Interest through Department of Defense ProblemsThis paper will describe a research study whose goal is understand the impacts on studentlearning of and career interest in systems engineering through a series of pilot SystemsEngineering Capstone Experiences being implemented in eight civilian universities and sixservice academies. Sponsored by the Department of Defense Research & Engineering, theDoD’s chief technology office, the strategic goal addressed by this research is the developmentof systems engineering (SE) talent for future DoD and related industry workforce needs. A 45%growth is expected in SE jobs in the next decade 1 and there have been numerous studies andworkshops that have highlighted the shortfalls in both the number and capability of the SEworkforce. The July 2006 NDIA Task Force noted among the top five systems engineeringissues the lack of adequate, qualified SE human capital resources within Government andindustry for allocation on major programs 2. Consequently, new academic and career pathwaysare urgently needed to build the talent base required.Through a competitive application process, eight civilian universities with expertise in systemsengineering were selected to develop course materials and conduct a capstone experienceinvolving undergraduate and/or graduate students, and six service academies joined the project.A set of common assessments to measure student progress toward stated learning objectives(systems engineering competencies), were developed and are being administered to more than300 undergraduate and graduate students during the 2010-11 academic year. These studentassessments include: (1) pre- and post-surveys to gauge knowledge of systems engineering,interest in systems engineering careers, and awareness of a spectrum of Department of Defensesystems engineering problems; (2) a pre- and post- case study analysis of a systems engineeringproblem; and (3) required weekly student blog posts to measure student progress toward moresophisticated systems engineering analysis in the context of their own Capstone projects. Dataon course materials, course organization, customized assessments from participating universities,student demographics, and type of institution will also be collected and analyzed, as well assurveys from faculty, Department of Defense mentors, and industry representatives.The deliverables of this research will be: 1. Analysis of learning outcomes by principal investigators of individual pilot programs based on progress as of January 2011 and June 2011. 2. Compilation, synthesis and analysis of learning outcomes from the pilot programs for project periods through January 2011 and June 2011. 3. Recommendations based on the pilot programs that will inform the development of a larger scale-up effort to build capacity for SE learning nationwide.Recommendations for future research will also be discussed.1 Rosato, D., Braverman, B., & Jeffries, A. (2009, November). The 50 best jobs in America. Money, 88-96.2 National Defense Industrial Association Systems Engineering Division Task Group Report (2006, July). Top Five Systems Engineering Issues within Department of Defense and Defense Industry.
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