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Systems Engineering Graduate Education for Veterans - A Pilot Program

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Programs in Support of Systems Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1128.1 - 23.1128.14

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Paper Authors


Michael C Smith University of Virginia

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Mike Smith earned his B.S. and M.S. at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri - Columbia. He has worked across a variety of application domains including manufacturing, transportation, defense, and health care. His 20+ years in the private sector and ten years in academia give him the combined perspective of academic rigor and pragmatic problem solving that helps bring solid solutions to challenging problems. Mike and his wife. Amanda, have four children and two grandchildren and enjoy biking, hiking, camping, reading, and hanging out with the grandkids.

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Barry Horowitz University of Virginia

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Munster Professor and Chair of the Systems Engineering Department at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining UVa served as CEO of the Mitre Corporation. Member of the National Academy of Engineering and currently serving on the Naval Studies Board, the General Electric Academic Software Advisory Board and the Research Council of the Systems Engineering Research Center sponsored by the DoD and managed by the Stevens Institute.

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Thomas S. Brett Dept of Systems Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science

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Graduate of SUNY- Buffalo (JD), SUNY- Albany (MS Business Administration) and Graduate of St Bonaventure University (BS Economics)
Member of the New York State Bar, and the United States Supreme Court Bar. Practicing attorney for more than thirty five years with the United States Departmenr of Justice, Washington D.C,United Technologies Corportaton and the Brett Law Firm, LLC, Syracuse, New York.
Combat veteran of the United States Army Artillery, highest rank, Captain recipient of the Purple Heart.
Currently Veterans Coordinator for Accelerated Masters Degree Program in Systems Engineering at teh Universtiy of Virginia (August, 2010- present)

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Systems  Engineering  Graduate  Education  for  Veterans  -­‐  A  Pilot  Program     Abstract    In  August  2009,  the  U.S.  Department  of  Veterans  Affairs  (VA)  began  a  new  program  of  educational  benefits  for  veterans.  The  program  expanded  the  post-­‐secondary  educational  benefits  available  to  veterans  who  served  on  active  duty  after  September  10,  2001.  At  the  same  time,  there  were  growing  concerns  about  the  adequacy  of  the  future  U.S.  engineering  and  science  workforce.  The  post-­‐9/11  veterans'  educational  benefit  created  an  opportunity  for  the  U.S.  to  expand  its  technical  workforce  while  serving  those  who  served.      Post-­‐9/11  veterans  include  a  diverse  and  qualified  pool  of  future  talent  for  the  nation's  engineering  and  science  employers.  Ushering  them  into  technical  fields  requires  a  community  of  partnerships  between  the  veterans,  the  nation's  educational  institutions,  technology  firms,  the  government's  technical  and  scientific  organizations,  and  others.    This  paper  focuses  on  an  NSF-­‐funded  project  that  was  formulated  to  develop  a  customized  pilot  Accelerated  Masters  Program  in  Systems  Engineering  for  veterans  (AMP-­‐V),  built  upon  the  ideas  developed  at  an  NSF-­‐sponsored  workshop  “Veterans'  Education  for  Engineering  and  Science”  posted  on  NSF's  web  site.  The  program  is  based  upon  an  existing  program,  but  modified  along  the  lines  of  the  principles  established  at  the  NSF  workshop  for  tailoring  educational  programs  toward  the  career  development  interests  and  special  needs  of  veterans.  This  tailoring  was  done  with  the  specific  intention  of  developing  approaches  for  implementation  that  can  be  used  as  a  basis  to  expand  the  pilot  program  within  the  University  and  for  other  institutions  to  use  as  a  starting  point  as  well.      Accordingly,  this  program  included  new  approaches  for:     • Providing  a  path  for  veterans  with  any  bachelors  degree  to  gain  a  masters   degree  in  systems  engineering  within  a  relatively  short  time  period,  and  have   immediate  opportunity  for  meaningful  and  rewarding  engineering  jobs.   • Providing  a  schedule  for  completing  the  requirements  for  a  masters  degree   in  as  little  as  one  year  while  permitting  employment  while  completing  the   program.   • Developing  a  group  of  AMP-­‐V  program  stakeholders  who  are  interested  in   hiring  the  UVa  students  upon  graduation.     • Developing  a  curriculum  that  the  stakeholders  find  of  greatest  potential   value  and  can  be  sensibly  integrated  into  the  curriculum.   • Developing  for  attracting  veterans  into  the  program.   • Providing  preparatory  courses  as  a  preamble  to  the  AMP-­‐V  program  that   serve  to  either  ready  those  who  have  never  taken  the  required  prerequisite   courses  or  to  refresh  those  who  have  already  taken  those  courses,  but  do  not   feel  academic-­‐ready.    Veterans  are  already  realizing  benefits  from  their  advanced  degree  in  systems  engineering,  as  evidenced  by  both  employment  opportunities  and  career  opportunities.    As  the  AMP-­‐V  program  continues  to  produce  new  graduates,  future  data  collection  efforts  will  start  to  calibrate  program  value  as  determined  from  the  perspectives  of  students,  employers,  and  the  University.    This  paper  elaborates  on  the  three  year  effort  for  an  AMP-­‐V  program,  including  the  program  planning,  re-­‐planning,  evaluation  and  documentation  efforts  over  two  full  cycles  of  program  delivery.    

Smith, M. C., & Horowitz, B., & Brett, T. S. (2013, June), Systems Engineering Graduate Education for Veterans - A Pilot Program Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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