Growing The National Innovation System: Defining The Characteristics Of Innovative Professionally Oriented Education At The Master, Doctor,
2003 Annual Conference Proceedings
This is the third paper in the special panel session on reshaping professionally oriented graduate education to be more relevant to the needs of the practicing profession in industry to ensure a strong U.S. engineering workforce. This paper suggests a framework of guidelines for curricular design of innovative master, doctoral, and fellow level professional graduate programs crafted to meet the career-long needs of engineering professionals in industry and guided by the incorporation of five
... poration of five major attributes of highquality graduate programs that positively affect the growth and development of working professionals. The guidelines are based on the functional requirements, tasks, and responsibilities that engineering leaders encounter throughout their professional careers. The paper presents a new vision for shaping integrated (holistic) professional graduate education for working professionals as a "system for lifelong learning" that enables their continuous professional development thereby continuously strengthening U.S. innovative capacity for competitiveness. Attention is drawn to the need to integrate graduate studies with experiential learning and the advanced practice of engineering for systematic development, innovation, and leadership of technology in industry. Alternative paradigms for professional graduate education, which augment research-based graduate education, are now feasible. Based upon recent advancements that have already occurred in professionally oriented graduate education across the nation and a heightened sense of urgency in ensuring a strong U.S. engineering workforce for competitiveness, the timing for executing innovative change and designing postgraduate professional education as a "system for lifelong learning" which is more relevant to the careerlong needs of the nation's engineering leaders has never been more appropriate. The transformation that the National Collaborative Task Force proposes neither detracts from nor competes with traditional research-based graduate education or the university's research function. Rather, it enhances the university's mission of professional education by developing high-caliber professionals for technology leadership roles in industry and government service. As America competes in the global economy, one type of graduate education doesn't serve everyone or meet all needs for technology and science. Because the process of engineering for creating technology and the process of research for scientific discovery are quite different, different types of graduate education are required that are specific to the needs of both functions. Educating engineers as creative professionals does not end at the baccalaureate level. To be more precise, undergraduate education is the beginning of a career-long journey. Undergraduate education serves as the foundation for entry into engineering practice and technology at the basic level. The primary purpose of postgraduate professional education is to provide an integrated opportunity at the advanced level which is concurrent with practice and enables experienced practicing professionals to continue to grow professionally beyond entry level. For practicing engineers who are or who want to be technology leaders, it is imperative to obtain their fullest creative and innovative potentials because of the responsible charge of significant technology endeavors. Orientation of Postgraduate Professional Education Educating engineering leaders as professionals requires a holistic combination of further experiential learning, further graduate studies, and actual creative practice in engineering beyond the baccalaureate level. Whereas traditional graduate programs are research-oriented and focus primarily on inquiry-based learning to prepare young resident students for careers centered on academic research and teaching, the focus of postgraduate programs for experienced engineers must be quite different. However, the rigor is not lessened. At the advanced level, postgraduate programs for practicing engineers need to be technologyoriented and focus on innovation-based learning to further the growth and development of working professionals who are already in industry. Graduate curriculum for practicing engineers who have an already established technology competency base, and whose careers are centered on the practice of engineering for the conceptual design, development, innovation, and need appropriate graduate education leadership of new and future technologies such that they are quick to respond to real-world needs. At this level, a professional's postgraduate education must be built upon an integrated approach that includes not only a curriculum of learning of further advanced studies, but also a curriculum of learning that combines self-directed learning, experiential-based learning gained through progressive experiences in engineering practice, and innovation-based learning gained through actual engagement in the leadership of continuous creative technology development including technological innovation responsive to society. 3.