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Duke Engineering Launches Institute for Enterprise Engineering
April 27, 2021
New organization will increase opportunities for professional education, industry partnerships focused on applying technological innovation to enterprises
As computational technologies continue to advance, there is no shortage of organizations beginning to understand just how valuable these innovations can be to their business. Digital tools like data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain that not long ago were thought of as experimental pursuits for academics are transforming most every field imaginable.
To meet the evolving needs of industries big and small for talent in these areas, the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University is launching the Institute for Enterprise Engineering. The new initiative will leverage Duke Engineering’s existing strengths in applied computational technologies and industry-focused professional education to open new opportunities for both Duke students and working professionals around the world. Its goal is to create technical leaders who can enhance organizational performance and product innovation through engineering and technology.
“Duke Engineering has already launched a number of independent programs that address this growing need and we are now putting them together into a more coherent and easily navigated framework,” said Jeff Glass, senior associate dean for education and learning innovation at Duke Engineering. “Not only will this help working professionals see what we have to offer them, it will help us bring a greater industry presence, which has already proven invaluable in many courses, into more of our programs.”
“With the rapid pace of change and opportunity for applying technology to solve industry problems, it is exciting to see Duke Engineering lead in bringing such a timely and nimble model of education that fits the speed of innovation in industry.”
“As a complement to Duke Engineering’s existing degree programs concentrated on the traditional engineering disciplines, the institute will focus on creating industry-centered programs and courses in technology areas that cut across boundaries, such as AI or cybersecurity,” said Jon Reifschneider, director of professional programs at Duke Engineering.
The institute will be composed of two main branches, each housing existing academic programs in addition to new offerings. One is the Center for Engineering Management, the centerpiece of which is Duke Engineering’s Master of Engineering Management degree program, started nearly 25 years ago and highly regarded for both its on-campus and online programs and its integration of real industry experiences. The second is the Center for Enterprise Analytics and Systems Engineering, which includes the school’s educational offerings in areas such as FinTech, cybersecurity, blockchain and AI.
“As a complement to Duke Engineering’s existing degree programs concentrated on the traditional engineering disciplines, the institute will focus on creating industry-centered programs and courses in technology areas that cut across boundaries, such as AI or cybersecurity.”
Developed by Reifschneider with input from leaders across industries, Duke Engineering’s recently launched AI for Product Innovation Master of Engineering embodies many of the characteristics the new institute will look to advance. Collaborating with faculty from Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and School of Law, courses build a deep appreciation of the business, policy and ethical considerations of implementing AI and machine learning in addition to the requisite technical skills. It is also structured around the Product Development Process used in industry and incorporates real-world projects, so that students understand how to translate what they learn in the classroom into the development of new products and systems. And as with most of the programs in the new Institute, it’s offered in both on-campus and online formats to meet the needs of full-time working professionals.
It is this combination of campus-wide expertise, curriculum centered on industry practices and partnership with real-world professionals that the Institute for Enterprise Engineering will work to implement into stackable, industry-focused educational programs in each focus area. Offerings such as weekend or week-long immersive short courses will allow professionals to brush up on or try out a new subject. For those interested in diving deeper, options could include a three-course Master Track on the Coursera virtual learning platform, a for-credit Duke Graduate Certificate or even a full online professional master’s degree.
“Not only will this initiative help working professionals see what we have to offer them, it will help us bring a greater industry presence, which has already proven invaluable in many courses, into more of our programs.”
“In 1967, Duke decided that if you took mechanical and electrical engineering and applied it to health, it warranted the creation of a new field, and they called it biomedical engineering. Duke was one of the first schools to take this leap and is now one of the leaders in this enormous field,” said Ravi Bellamkonda, Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke. “We believe that the application of AI, machine learning and data science to businesses and enterprise is analogous to this transformation, and Duke is poised to become a leader in defining the birth of this new field.”
“I think we’ll look back in 10 years and think about how remarkable it was to make this major shift in how master’s programs are built,” said Glass. “Learning in the context of the product development process and engaging professionals with real-world problems in these classes make the lessons learned generalizable to any company no matter what specific industry niche they operate in.”
Besides developing curricula tailored to industry needs, the institute will also bring more industry professionals to Duke’s campus in a wide variety of ways such as roundtables, seminars, practicums and internships. Capstone projects will become more formalized with various companies to allow students to work on authentic industry problems. And the increased ties with industry will also bleed over into the undergraduate experience by providing unique “vertical learning“ graduate-level electives and co-curricular opportunities.
"The application of AI, machine learning and data science is transforming businesses and enterprise, and Duke Enterprise Engineering is poised to become a leader in defining this new field."
This April, to name just one example, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced a strategic partnership with Duke Engineering to drive technological innovation in the banking and financial services sectors. The partnership will engage students and faculty across a range of Enterprise Engineering programs, particularly in FinTech and cybersecurity.
“With the rapid pace of change and opportunity for applying technology to solve industry problems, it is exciting to see Duke Engineering lead in bringing such a timely and nimble model of education that fits the speed of innovation in industry,” said Mike Salvino, president and CEO of DXC Technology and member of the Duke Engineering Board of Visitors.
“Until now, you’ve essentially only had two chances to get a Duke education—once when choosing your undergraduate institution and once when considering graduate school,” said Reifschneider. “Now we’re looking to accommodate the different needs of people at different points in their careers and provide unlimited opportunities to learn from Duke no matter what career stage they’re in.”