Thursday October 27, 2011 4:00-5:00 p.m.
DOW building, Room 641
Professor Allan T. Kirkpatrick
Mechanical Engineering Department, Colorado State University
In 2009, the ASME Center for Education formed the ASME Vision 2030 task force to help define the knowledge and skills that mechanical engineering graduates should have to be globally competitive in the 21st century. What mechanical engineers do, and how they do it, is changing due to the expansion of the discipline’s boundaries, impact of the globalization of engineering and manufacturing, increased professional expectations, and rapid technological innovation.
The Vision 2030 task force has identified the challenges of sustainable engineering, energy, and human health as ones where mechanical engineers should lead development of innovative and sustainable solutions. Based on extensive surveys of three groups, industry, early career engineers, and engineering educators, the task force has found that there is a strong need to strengthen two aspects of the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum: practical experience, and curricular flexibility. These survey results indicate that successful mechanical engineers in industry will, in addition to technical knowledge, need to have more depth in problem-solving skills, innovation, communication, and global team collaboration.
To strengthen the ‘practical/professional experience’ component of the students’ skill set, the task force has recommended that Mechanical Engineering curricula contain a multi-year design/build spine. Professional skills such as problem solving, teamwork, leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation, and project management would be central features of the design spine. The task force has also found a need for ME Departments to increase their faculty diversification by both employing more faculty with significant industry experience and also creating faculty development opportunities in industry.