This course is a one credit introduction to a
variety of tools that help engineers develop
solutions to problems that address multiple
perspectives and encourage alternative points of
view. Engineers that can think "outside of
the box" are not only highly sought after in
industry, but, because of the global nature of
business and intense international competition,
engineering graduates need to develop the
complex thinking skills required by today's
industry. And industry is responding!
Twenty years ago, industry expected SDSMT
graduates to have a solid grounding in
engineering fundamentals. While it is
still true that engineering and science
graduates need technical competency, the skill
set is now only one of eleven or thirteen
metrics used during the hiring/interview process
(Caterpillar Metrics here).
And it isn't just industry that is asking for
these changes. South Dakota was one of the
first five states to join a consortium for
curricular innovation for development of
21st Century Skills which places greater
emphasis on creativity, innovation, and critical
thinking. The National Science Foundation
(NSF) is raising the bar on research awards to
ensure a more direct impact to student learning
than in the past.
Accrediting bodies have implemented new policies
and procedures as a mechanism to help promote
innovation in the classroom that will help
develop higher level thinking skills and value
added opportunities for curriculum development.
As little as ten years ago, ABET simply required
that engineering schools provided evidence that
engineering students were learning material in
required content areas. Now, schools must
determine what is that engineering graduates
need know, how do we know that is what they need
know and how we do know that they know it?
Sound different? That's because it is!
In short, we ain't in Kansas anymore.
Industry is changing and it is the smart
engineering / science student that recognizes
these changes and prepares now for the market
place of tomorrow.
Still not convinced, maybe a short story will
help. A few years ago, I was out hiking in
the backwoods of Glacier National park with Dr.
Jensen. After a short while we stumbled
across a grizzly bear who was just as startled
as we were. She reared up in full length
and let out a mighty roar showing us that she
was fully prepared to protect both her cub and
her food supply. We didn't need a second
warning. Both Dr. Jensen and I took at
full run down the mountain with the grizzly bear
hot on our heels. Suddenly, Dr. Jensen
stopped to put on his sneakers. Mortified,
I yelled as I caught up to me. Dr. Jensen,
don't you know you can't outrun a grizzly bear?
To this he quickly finished the last lacing,
starting running stride for stride with me, shot
me a grin and replied, "I don't have to outrun
the grizzly bear. I only have to outrun
Bottom line, this is the name of the
game in industry. Those that are able to
do more with less, do it better, do it faster,
and do it cheaper will survive. Those that
can not will fall by the wayside. And
industry is looking to their engineering and
scientific workforce to help them do that.
Still not convinced? Just take a look at
the mainstream companies that are incorporating
whole brain thinking and team development
processes in their overall thinking these days
Herrmann as one example).
To get a better sense of what we are talking
about, read IE's