Purdue's Engineer of 2020: The journey

James Jones, Peter Meckl, Michael Harris, Monica Cox, Osman Cekic, Martin Okos, Osvaldo Campanella, Neal Houze, James Litster, Nathan Mosier, David Radcliffe, Bernard Tao, Daniel Delaurentis, Sean Brophy, Kathleen Howell, Masataka Okutsu, Amy Penner, Alice Wilson, Leah Jamieson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To remain competitive in a financially uncertain and increasingly changing global economy, engineering companies and businesses need a workforce that is not only technically competent, but that is broadly knowledgeable, adaptable, and nimble. Our studies have shown that the skill sets industry is seeking to survive is becoming ever broader. While the ABET a-k criteria have added to the breadth of most engineering curricula, there are many key skills that are not emphasized in these criteria such as leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, managing change, etc. Our Engineer of 2020 initiative has served as a catalyst to encourage our faculty to consider what are the critical skills and abilities our graduates are going to need in this new century. The initiative began in 2004 after the release of the NAE publication The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Our previous ABET review had already established that companies are seeking an increasingly broader set of skills in graduates, what we have termed "renaissance engineers." These are engineering graduates that are technically competent, but also broadly knowledgeable about many other areas of both a technical and non-technical nature. But how do you adapt an engineering program to meet the changing needs of graduates of the 21st century? Our first step was to engage our faculty and other constituents (alums, employers, students, etc.) in an extended discussion about what are the target attributes we need to be developing in students. After two years of discussions and at times heated debate, the Purdue's Engineer of 2020 Target Attributes were approved by our faculty. The next stage of our initiative has been to develop methods to advocate curricular change directed at fostering development of the target attributes. Our strategies for fostering change include: Engineer of 2020 Workshop, Engineer of 2020 Seed Grant Program, Travel Funds to Strategic Workshops and Conferences, and Sharing of Best Practices. This paper describes the "journey" that has been undertaken thus far and our strategies for developing assessment tools to monitor our progress as we implement the Purdue's Engineer of 2020 initiative in the College of Engineering at Purdue University.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Event2009 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2009Jun 17 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Purdue's Engineer of 2020: The journey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this