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The Needs of 21st Century Engineering Graduates: An Industry Perspective

Harvey Bell(General Motors, Retired)

Harvey Bell (General Motors, Retired) is being considered for the position of Co-Director in the College’s Multidisciplinary Design (MD) Program to help advance the program and better engage industry. He also is being considered as a Professor of Engineering Practice in ECE and the College of Engineering. The Professor-of-Engineering-Practice is a new position within the College and represents a commitment to better integrate professional practice into the College’s academic mission by bringing highly successful practitioners to work on campus with our students, faculty, and staff. It is especially hoped that these people can coach and mentor our students to enhance their educational experience while at Michigan.

Brian Gilchrist
Director, Multidisciplinary Design Program

Engineering graduates of the 21st century must be able to work (and compete) in a global environment. They must be prepared to work and adapt in a world where the complexity of our societal needs and the sophistication of our product or process solutions continue to grow. They must be prepared to provide a disproportionate value in relation to their costs to remain competitive. Yet, engineering is inherently a very creative profession and creativity needs to be a core competency of an engineer in parallel with strength and depth of knowledge. The real challenge is thus to demonstrate creativity while engineering complex products and processes. Michigan has a number of innovative programs that can be enhanced to develop creativity in engineering complex products and services while maintaining (or even strengthening) depth of knowledge. The Michigan engineering graduate would benefit from access to more programs to practice creativity, a fundamental understanding of product development with a focus on the customer, and systems integration. Engineering graduates with the skills to creatively develop complex products will provide an ongoing benefit to society and be highly valued.

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