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The Agile Academic Enterprise

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Timothy A. Wilson Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

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Tim Wilson is chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

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Massood Towhidnejad Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

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Massood Towhidnejad is Professor of Software Engineering in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His research interest includes; Software Engineering, Software Quality Assurance and Testing, Autonomous Systems, and Air Traffic Management (NextGen).

In addition to his university position, he has served as Visiting Research Associate at the Federal Aviation Administration, Faculty Fellow at NASA Goddard Flight Research Center, and Software Quality Assurance Manager at Carrier Corporations. He also contributed to the Software and System Engineering profession by serving as an author for Graduate Software Engineering Reference Curriculum (GSwE2009), Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering (GRCSE),
Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK), and subject matter expert for IEEE Certified Software Development Associate (CSDA) training material.

He is senior member of IEEE.

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James J. Pembridge Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach


Erin Elizabeth Bowen Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott

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Currently appointed as the A. Dale Thompson Professor of Leadership at the University of Texas at Arlington, Dr. Erin Bowen is a scientist-practitioner with an interdisciplinary focus on the intersection of I/O Psychology and Aviation. With a research and practice career focused on applying psychological science to the aviation industry, Dr. Bowen's expertise is relied on by research and industry partners as well as numerous national and international news outlets. Recent media appearances include "Good Morning America", live in-studio on NBC's "Meet the Press", CNN's "The Lead" with Jake Tapper, CNN’s "Tonight with Don Lemon", The Washington Post, BBC Radio, Bloomberg News, USA Today, Forbes, National Public Radio, a feature article in Flying Magazine, and many others.

She is also an appointed member of the Aviation Safety, Security, & Emergency Management committee of the Transportation Research Board (part of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine) and serves by invitation as an external media expert for The Boeing Company. In addition, she is presently conducting research funded by the National Science Foundation and is part of the FAA Center of Excellence in Technical Training & Human Performance.

Prior to joining UTA, Erin was founding Chair and Professor in the Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Saint Louis University, with a graduate minor in Research Methodology.

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Omar Ochoa Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


Carlos Alberto Castro Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

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Carlos Alberto Castro
NEAR lab MicaPlex, room 222
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
1 Aerospace Blvd.
Daytona Beach, Florida 32114–3900
386–226–7019 (W), 386–589–1402 (M)

Project Role: Project Manager

(a) Professional Preparation

Project Management Institute Project Manager Professional (PMP) 2019

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL Master of Business Administration in Aviation, 2014

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL Master of Aeronautical Science in Safety, 2002

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL
Master of Aeronautical Science in Management, 2002

I.U.P.F.A.N Armed Forces University
Maracay, Venezuela Aeronautical Engineering, 1998


2010–Present, Project Manager, Next-Generation Applied Research Lab (NEAR), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

2007–2010, Senior Researcher, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

2003–Present, Simulation Specialist, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

1998–2000, Quality Assurance Engineer, Components Control Manager. Aserca Airlines, Caracas, Venezuela

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What might it mean to be an agile academic department? An agile college? An agile university?

“Agile”, as used here, refers to practices and frameworks in software development and deployment, such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, and Crystal Clear. The Agile movement’s founding documents, the Agile Manifesto and its accompanying Agile Principles [], were published by leading software engineering researchers in February of 2001. The Manifesto staked out distinction with the prevailing software development approach at the time, called planned development and otherwise known as waterfall. The Agile Manifesto states,

"We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

"Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan

"That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Since the Manifesto’s publication, Agile use has expanded from its then primarily application in software development into a wide range of activities, from rocket motors (Space X), to race car development (Wikispeed), to finance (World Bank), to human resources (ING). Denning postulates Three Laws of the Agile Mindset: (1) The Law of the Small Team, in which small cross-functions teams work in short iterations receiving regular customer feedback; (2) The Law of the Customer, in which delighting the customer is taken as the ultimate purpose for any enterprise; and (3) The Law of the Network, in which networks of small teams act, having trust in the competency of each other, act like small teams in themselves [The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies Are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done. AMACOM, 2018].

Academic enterprises have unique attributes — recurring, months long, instructional terms; “customers” (students) whose short-term dissatisfaction can be part of the path to long-term success; industrial stakeholders who influence program direction and focus to satisfy hiring needs; generation of new knowledge, often with financial support from government agencies and industry; service to the profession and to our institutions. Using Denning’s Laws as a framing, we present possible approaches to employing agile within an academic department and discuss potential expansion of such to the level of a college and even an entire university.

Wilson, T. A., & Towhidnejad, M., & Pembridge, J. J., & Bowen, E. E., & Ochoa, O., & Castro, C. A. (2021, July), The Agile Academic Enterprise Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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: © 2021 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