Real-World Experience Forms the Core of the Nation’s Largest Producer of Minority Graduates in Manufacturing Engineering
The Greenfield Coalition – a National Science Foundation supported partnership of universities, manufacturing companies, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the non-profit organization Focus:HOPE – is establishing a new paradigm for manufacturing engineering education that centers on daily, real-world manufacturing experience. In the course of its on-going research and development work, Greenfield has also become the nation’s largest producer of minority graduates in the manufacturing engineering field.
Greenfield recently developed new, innovative web-based tools that expand learning and enhance students’ problem-solving skills within a real production environment. In short, Greenfield is an ongoing, original field experiment in undergraduate engineering education culture change with significant implications for underrepresented minorities in engineering schools and colleges in North America and internationally. The Greenfield experiment is being replicated in three new degree programs offered by the Coalition’s university partners using these new e-learning tools, which soon will be distributed to a broad range of traditional engineering classrooms.
The impetus for this collaboration was a shared sense among industry and university partners that most academic programs in manufacturing engineering do not provide students with actual manufacturing experience. By integrating theoretical studies with daily practice in fulfilling competitive manufacturing contracts, Greenfield is reinventing manufacturing engineering education in an atmosphere of “total immersion.”
Through Focus:HOPE, a Detroit, Michigan human and civil rights organization, and its Center for Advanced Technology, Greenfield pilots its manufacturing education program to a student body with a 95 per cent underrepresented minority population. Focus:HOPE contains a non-profit manufacturing arm with the dual function of supplying precision machined components and assemblies to the automotive industry while providing reality-based learning for its engineering student candidates.
University partners in the Greenfield Coalition are Lawrence Technological University, Lehigh University, Michigan State University, Walsh College, University of Detroit- Mercy, and Wayne State University. Industry partners include DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation.
The Greenfield Coalition is the nation’s largest producer of minority graduates in manufacturing engineering.