Asee peer logo

Technological Innovation: A Critical Imperative for Engineering and Technology Departments/Colleges

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Assessment Methods and Learning Pedagogy I

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1416.1 - 22.1416.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Michael J. Dyrenfurth Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Michael Dyrenfurth is professor in the Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation in the College of Technology at Purdue University. He is co-PI of two FIPSE-funded Atlantis projects: DETECT exchanging undergraduates with Ireland and German and Atlantis 2009 a concurrent Master's degree project with Ireland and Spain. He collaborates frequently with ProSTAR to deliver industry-oriented graduate programs to professionals in the field. Active in international aspects of the profession, he teaches and researches in the areas of technological innovation, technological literacy, and international dimensions of technological education.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Technological  Innovation:  A  critical  imperative  for  engineering  and  technology   departments/colleges    The National Academies (Committee on Comparative Innovation Policy, 2007),President Obama, Business and industry leaders (Task Force on American innovation, analliance of America's leading companies, research universities, and scientific societies)all have pointed to innovation as being the prime way forward out of the currenteconomic morass. Governments; local, regional, and national; have pinned their hopes oninnovation as a way towards prosperity. The USA used to be known as one of the world’sleading technological innovators but is that the case today? Devastatingly, however,according to the National Research Council (2010), the U.S. S&T asset base has erodedrelative to those of other countries. The need is imperative as John J. Castellani, Presidentof Business Roundtable, testified to congress. He pointed out the urgent “need forincreased innovation, additional investments in research and development and a renewedcommitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education toensure that the United States continues to compete successfully in the globalmarketplace”. One result of such concerted action was the enactment of the AmericaCompetes Act in August of 2010.Departments and Colleges of Engineering Technology have a critically important role indeveloping people with significant technological understanding and capability andfurthermore they have established a solid record of performance in doing so (for examplesee the TAC ABET criteria and list of accredited programs). But, is this sufficient? Howis our profession addressing and inculcating innovation? The purpose of this session is tocritically examine and synthesize what is known (and not known) about technologicalinnovation – both the nature of the core concept and process as well as how to fomentmore and better innovation. A proposed cognitive science-based model for the individualwho actually generates the innovation will be presented and extrapolated to identifyimperative changes needed if our departments are to graduate students with a highercapacity and propensity to engage in technological innovation. Also shared will be someprime examples of outstanding practices developing the ability to innovate.The session will conclude with a provocative outline of some key implications of theconcept and needs for department of engineering and Technology. Curricular content andmethodological adjustments must be made if our next generation of graduates is to bemore innovative than our previous ones? The paper will present a synthesis of keycompetencies and understandings essential to technological innovation. How will we helpstudents to develop modes of thoughts and attitudes that promote technologicalinnovation?Significant opportunity will be provided for interaction and Q&A with the attendees.

Dyrenfurth, M. J. (2011, June), Technological Innovation: A Critical Imperative for Engineering and Technology Departments/Colleges Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18636

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015