By Robert E. Spitzer
operating in a world that has become more global and diverse. We are
also operating in a world that is moving to higher levels of integration
within the multitude of systems of different sizes and complexity that
make up our corporate environments, products, and services.
by necessity, are driven by business considerations in their decisions
and relationships. Corporations want and need to engage with universities.
Universities and their contributions to research, education, and community
service are an obvious part of the value stream for corporations. The
Boeing Company selects certain schools for focused engagement because
of the relative significance of the business value of those schools
to Boeing. This business value is provided through both education and
research from individuals of diverse backgrounds. That education must
promote the development of the prerequisite critical skills and thinking
needed in the future workforce is a given, but there must also be the
development of a culture that fosters an understanding of lifelong learning
for our employees and communities. The research must be a source of
new technologies and innovation for the future growth of all corporations.
future and that of other corporations depends on the intellectual capital
and diversity of the individuals that attend these educational institutions.
Universities are the primary providers of these individuals to corporations.
Companies have a strong need for diverse intellectual capital, in ideas
and knowledge, that is the product of the research being done both domestically
and internationally. Companies also need people to work in the expanding
global enterprise. To meet these needs, companies like Boeing must engage
with educational institutions on a global basis.
technology, and innovation come principally from the research engagement.
This engagement can be divided into three general classes. These are
strategic, which usually involves longer time horizons and more fundamental
research; tactical, which typically involves medium time horizons and
often is associated with technology adaptation; and transactional, which
generally meets a need with a shorter time horizon using existing expertise.
engagement of corporations with universities is focused on the preparation
of new talent and the continuing education of existing employees. The
preparation of new talent generally involves an undergraduate focus
on bachelor's degree programs. The implementation of ABET Engineering
Criteria 2000, the new criteria for accreditation of engineering, has
been a major step in trying to direct the outcomes of the educational
process toward the needs of the workplace.
important to corporations that potential employees have the proper education
and educational awareness, in addition to a proper work attitude. Included
in the undergraduate education must be a sufficient working knowledge
of the technical basics, as well as an appropriate introduction to some
essential non-technical skills and knowledge. The latter includes multidisciplinary
capability, liberal studies, and the integrative capstone design course.
It never has been possible to teach bachelor's level individuals
everything they will ever need to know. The educational system, however,
has behaved for many years as if this were a possible achievement. EC
2000 formally recognizes that this educational model is not feasible.
educational challenge for engineering education continues to be how
to get the individual the necessary functional expertise and departmental
expertise while including sufficient introduction to and coverage of
other elements that are needed by a practicing engineer. Educational
institutions need to develop a comprehensive, integrated engineering
education in the spirit of EC 2000 if companies like Boeing are to be
successful and remain competitive in the new global economy and marketplace.
the Boeing engagement with universities has an orientation toward people.
In addition to business-related dollars that are spent at educational
institutions, Boeing has some funds for charitable investment. The company's
charitable investment is student-focused, particularly encouraging those
students needing financial support or who are underrepresented. Boeing
also supports education approaches that fulfill the EC 2000 principles
for all disciplines and encourage universities to help with the K-12
that face both industry and educational institutions are many. There
is a need for an effective integrated education that develops in these
individuals the requisite skills, an attitude for work, an appreciation
of the holistic environment of the practice of engineering, and a culture
of continuous learning. There is demand in the workplace for diversity
of ideas and people. Finally, in this quest, all of us must work together
and effectively utilize the available resources in order to meet the
needs of tomorrow. Failure to meet all of these challenges will have
great economic impact on the future of our corporations and our country.
Spitzer is vice president, external affiliations, at The Boeing Company.
He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.