Grant: $149,999 - National Science Foundation - Jul. 6, 2009
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Award Description: Creating Industry-Ready PhD Graduates Creating Industry-Ready PhD Graduates The broad objective of this research is to investigate how engineering doctoral programs can better prepare graduates for careers in industry. Currently, engineering doctoral programs largely train students to conduct research in narrowly defined areas that are selected by the faculty advisors. Such specialization does not explicitly prepare graduates for long-term success in the continuously evolving, multidisciplinary, global research environment. Further, less than 20% of engineering PhD graduates work in academia. Looking to industry for guidance on how to better prepare engineering PhD graduates can lead to more relevant degree programs that are valued by students and employers. The intended result will be an increase in the number of US citizens pursuing and completing engineering PhD programs. This will only be achieved, however, if the faculty integrates appropriate training and learning experiences into the PhD program of study, and if potential graduate students value these opportunities. This research will explore these issues by accomplishing three interrelated objectives. 1. Determine the desired knowledge, attributes and skills of engineering PhD graduates who are prepared for careers in industry. 2. Determine which and how components of engineering PhD programs of study can develop the desired knowledge, attributes and skills. 3. Determine how undergraduates and bachelor-degreed engineers in industry value these components and the desired outcomes. The intellectual merit of this project results from the research design. A combination of quantitative research, qualitative research, and quasi-experimental research is proposed. All three objectives will involve surveys, interviews and focus groups of participants at different levels within industry or academia. These include recent PhD graduates, research group managers, faculty, current PhD candidates, undergraduates, and practicing bachelor-degreed engineers. To further address objective 1, a written protocol analysis will be conducted using publically-available job announcements for research engineering positions (e.g. monster.com). The role that formal coursework can play to address objective 2 will be investigated by the development and implementation of an experimental course called GRAD 800 - The Graduate Student as Leader. Comparing and contrasting the results from undergraduates and working engineers will help triangulate the findings related to objective 3. The result is a multi-method exploratory research design that can be implemented by the project team with the resources that are requested in this proposal.Broader impacts are inherent in the nature of the research topic, which aims at promoting the integration of research and education in engineering doctoral programs. Successful research and development in industry maintains a companys competitive edge by embracing changing technologies, markets, economies and environments. Since these same issues face academia, a broader impact is that a PhD program that prepares graduates for successful careers in industry will also better prepare them for long-term success in academia. This project directly broadens participation. A female engineering PhD student contributed to the design of the research plan and the preparation of this proposal, and will engage in the proposed research and dissemination activities. Discovery is advanced through the research training within this project.
Project Description: As defined in the Award Description field.
Jobs Summary: Graduate Assistant (new job created) (Total jobs reported: 1)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jul. 6, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.