Source: JEC Composites | November 29, 2019
Advanced manufacturing is playing an ever-increasing role in the world’s economy, and UT is answering the call with research and innovation. The importance of this new method of production is reflected in additional classes devoted to the field as well as ongoing research.
Seven of the prestigious UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chairs, as well as others throughout the university, are dedicated to studying advanced manufacturing or the materials that support it.
With that solid foundation, UT will begin offering a graduate certificate in advanced manufacturing in January.
Doug Aaron, assistant head of undergraduate programs in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering (MABE), who is overseeing the new program, said:
“We have experts in advanced materials, in polymers, in additive and subtractive techniques, and in metals. We’re taking what we know about other online courses and working with UT’s Office of Information Technology to figure out best practices and what the proper approach is to launch at the start of next semester.”
Aaron said the team has been working behind the scenes since October 2017, when the idea was first floated around the department.
Classes will be available in the Nathan W. Dougherty Engineering Building at UT, with the ability for students to take part online via two-way video capabilities. The hope is to have classes set up so students can participate live and review videos of lessons at their convenience, allowing people who have full-time jobs to take classes outside their normal work hours.
Students will be able to choose two courses from six electives, in addition to required courses in mechanics of materials and in advanced manufacturing. The goal is to have around 10 students in the inaugural semester, building up to 50 or so within three to five years.
If the program meets those marks, it may become a full master’s degree program.
“We’ve had strong interest from some of our key industry partners on doing something like this. Taking on a full-time master’s program is a commitment that a lot of people who are in the workforce can’t really afford the time to take. This certificate program is relevant for anyone from recent grads to people who’ve been working for years that are wishing they could add to their educational experience and maybe improve their employment.”
Aaron said the program will be open to anyone with a background in engineering, and that applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis—noting, for example, that someone who might not have had the best GPA but who has 10 years of practical employment would be considered with that experience in mind.
He added that the team is drawing on knowledge shared from the UT Space Institute, which has online courses and is strongly affiliated with UT’s MABE faculty.