Technology, globalization, and critical world issues are transforming the engineering profession. Today’s graduates are no longer needed to perform routine work that can be accomplished by trained technicians. Instead, both the public and private sectors are looking for engineering professionals who are driven to innovate, lead and manage in ways much different than their predecessors. The demand is for those who can identify, design, construct, deploy and operate technological responses to the needs of today and future generations.
In response to this changing landscape, Villanova University’s College of Engineering has designed a comprehensive undergraduate engineering education that includes not only traditional technical tracks, but also professional development. Known as Career Compass, this new, required program will stimulate and develop broad-based innovative, leadership and management skills. “Most importantly,” says Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Randy Weinstein, PhD, “Career Compass will provide Villanova Engineering students with the direction they need to pursue and achieve their professional goals.”
Developed in consultation with engineering alumni, faculty and students, Career Compass will operate in parallel (co-curricular) to the technical track throughout all four years of undergraduate education. The specific disciplines of focus are grouped into four modules, and each has components spread over the students’ four years:
- The Engineering Profession
- Setting the Stage for Personal Success
- Post-Graduation Planning
- Communicating in the 21st Century
Elements of the program will be delivered in a variety of formats, including, online videos, modules, quizzes and directed learning; professional events; in-person workshops; and a significant professional experience each year.
In addition to its four modules, Career Compass will include college-wide mentoring and summer internship programs. Beginning sophomore year and continuing through graduation, students will be professionally linked to Villanova Engineering alumni and/or internship organizations for mentoring. The internship program will assist students in securing work site opportunities, allowing them to apply both their technical and professional skills to real-world, relevant projects. Career Compass leader Frank Falcone, Director of Professional Development and Experiential Education, adds: “The internship program will help organizations identify future professional employees, and, given that it will appear on students’ transcripts, Career Compass will distinguish Villanova engineers from other new graduates. Our long term goal is to put students on a real path toward an initial professional position.”
Career Compass will launch in fall 2016 with the freshmen class, and modules will be added each year. The class of 2020 will be the first to graduate with the Career Compass distinction.