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Using The Systems Engineering Method To Design A System Engineering Major At The United States Air Force Academy

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Innovations in Systems Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1392.1 - 9.1392.10



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Paper Authors

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Turner Stuart

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Cary Fisher

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Jason Bartolomei

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


Using the Systems Engineering Method to Design A System Engineering Major at the United States Air Force Academy

J. E. Bartolomei, S. L. Turner, C. A. Fisher

United States Air Force Academy USAF Academy CO 80840 (719) 333-2531

Abstract: In response to an articulated customer need for more engineering graduates who can “think in systems engineering terms,” the United States Air Force Academy recently began the process of developing a new undergraduate academic major in systems engineering. An interdisciplinary team of engineering educators, computer science and behavioral science professors, employed a robust systems engineering process to design the major so that the needs of all constituencies would be met during a time of constrained resources. In true systems engineering fashion, the team created a robust program architecture based on customer needs and requirements, a review of existing programs, and a forward-looking concept of operations. The architecture not only included the curricular design, but also addressed other aspects of the system, to include organizational design, marketing, and research. The systems engineering methodology allowed the team to establish the systems engineering major in an efficient, thorough, and organized manner. In less than a year the systems engineering major was in place with over 30 students enrolled. This paper will present the entire developmental process, describe the major in detail, and discuss how a systems engineering framework can be used to easily meet all ABET General Criteria.

Introduction: While various authors advocate many formal definitions of “system”, a system may be defined as an integrated composite of people, products and processes that provide a capability to satisfy a stated need or objective. Using this definition as a starting point, Academy professors formed an interdisciplinary tiger team and applied the systems engineering process to determine customer requirements and constraints, evaluate curriculum alternatives, and developed a forward-looking concept of operations for a new academic major in systems engineering. The systems engineering process and a systems life-cycle approach provided an excellent framework for developing the many facets of the major while simultaneously addressing ABET Criteria.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Stuart, T., & Fisher, C., & Bartolomei, J. (2004, June), Using The Systems Engineering Method To Design A System Engineering Major At The United States Air Force Academy Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13919

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