Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Malta, 16-18 July, 2012.
The role and scope of the engineering practice is transforming rapidly. What mechanical engineers do, and how they do it, both in thermal and mechanical systems, is changing due to meeting global challenges, expansion of the disciplinary boundaries, and rapid technological innovation. In this paper, we suggest changes in mechanical engineering education to prepare students to work successfully in this challenging environment. The ASME’s Vision 2030 Task Force identified key areas of knowledge, skills and abilities needed for mechanical engineering graduates to be successful in a global economy. The task force recommends strengthening the following seven aspects of undergraduate mechanical engineering education curricula: creating curricula that inspire innovation and creativity, increasing curricular flexibility, offering more authentic practice-based engineering experiences, developing students’ professional skills to a higher standard, attracting a more diverse student body, increased faculty expertise in professional practice and strengthening post-graduate education for practitioners. A partnership between industry, professional societies, government, and academia is needed to successfully implement these recommendations and develop the full potential of mechanical engineering graduates.