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The Market Pull Versus Technology Push Continuum Of Engineering Education

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1027.1 - 6.1027.15

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Jon Dixon

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

The “Market Pull” versus “Technology Push” Continuum of Engineering Education

Jon C. Dixon University of St. Thomas BFGoodrich Aerospace


Technologists, engineers, marketing agents and business managers are well acquainted with the “technology push” versus “market pull” continuum of product development. The “market pull” approach attempts to provide products the market demands. The “technology push” approach attempts to interest the market in new products based on new solutions.

Asking industry what it is thinking about its future needs for life-long learning, and what academia should do about it represents intention by academia to emphasize a “market pull” course of action with industry as customer. The academic institution desires to be of great help to local and regional industry by teaching students skills of immediate and tangible use by industry. Industry prospers, economies are fortified, academia has fulfilled its role, and America is strengthened. The antithetical method is often negatively viewed as too “theoretical” or ivory tower in approach.

While useful to some degree, the “market pull” approach is necessarily reactionary, shortsighted, and works not to strengthen America’s economy but to weaken it. An academic “market pull” approach shortchanges academia’s more important customers…its students, and America at large. It subjugates imaginative, creative leadership skills to “in the box” thinking. The approach satisfies short-term industry needs while defocusing the leadership crisis in American industry.

Consideration of an advance along the continuum from “market pull” dominance more towards “technology push” thinking is proposed. The question is rephrased as “What should tomorrow’s industrial leaders be learning today?”

I. Introduction

The future of American industry depends on the directions set by today’s engineering students. Whether these students become followers or leaders is largely up to them. But that outcome is strongly dependent upon how their academic institutions influence them today. I submit most urgently that academia’s collective charter is to make certain these

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Dixon, J. (2001, June), The Market Pull Versus Technology Push Continuum Of Engineering Education Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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