Strategic Design of Engineering Education for the Flat World

Dirk Schaefer, Jitesh H. Panchal, Seung-Kyum Choi, and Farrokh Mistree
Systems Realization Laboratory, The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology Savannah, 210 Technology Circle, Savannah, GA 31407-3039, USA E-mail:,,,

We believe that two critical success factors for an engineer in the flat world are an ability to adapt to changes and to be able to work at the interface of different disciplines. Instead of educating traditional domain-specific and analysis-orientated engineers, we believe that the focus should be on educating and graduating strategic engineers who can realize complex systems for changing markets in a collaborative, globally distributed environment. We identify three key drivers that we believe are foundational to future engineering design education programs. These drivers are a) emphasis on strategic engineering, b) mass customization of courses, c) utilization of IT-enabled environments for distributed education. Strategic engineering is a field that relates to the design and creation of complex systems that are adaptable to changes. Mass customization of courses refers to adapting the course material to educational goals and learning styles of different students. IT enabled environments bring distributed students and instructors closer in the form of a virtual classroom.


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