The Viterbi School of Engineering has made education for engineering professionals a top priority, ranking alongside graduate research and undergraduate study.
Associate Dean Kelly Goulis
"Both the practice of engineering and the needs of the economy are changing," says Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. "We believe the structure that we are evolving is a creative, proactive response to this new environment."
As laid out by Yortsos and Goulis, this initiative responds to national and global trends and industry demand. The growth of knowledge and of new specialties in the field of engineering is accelerating. Even though the undergraduate engineering curriculum remains one of the most intensive, four years is often not enough to bring a student up to the state of practice in many fields.
At the same time, the national need for professionals in these fields is exploding, creating a training bottleneck.
“We’ve had our ear to the ground for a long time,” says Goulis, “Now we are expanding by developing and delivering relevant professional education programs that engineers can directly
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The changes so far fall in four areas and build on the success of the Viterbi School’s Distance Education Network (DEN), which for 37 years has enabled professional engineers to earn their degree without attending class on the USC campus.
The four areas include:
Goulis notes that the Viterbi School has been uniquely well situated to provide a new approach to these problems. One element has been its long association with industry in developing educational programs addressing real-world needs, including the DEN program, which awarded 358 M.S. degrees in Spring 2009.
Across the board, she said, the message is clear.
"The primary goal," says Goulis, "is to combine flexibility with engineering talent, continually focusing on national needs. The nation needs a whole generation of new kinds of experts, professionals with talent and knowledge, and the willingness to apply it. The Viterbi School is well-positioned to prepare them for that challenge.”
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