BU Makes EPIC Investment in Engineering and Manufacturing
NEC member Boston University is revamping its engineering curriculum to give its students the skills they need to succeed and excel in the manufacturing jobs of the not so distant futures. It hopes to do so through its new Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC), a 20,000-square foot teaching and design studio, that features the latest in manufacturing hardware and software. Advanced manufacturing is becoming a larger part of the US economy, as mentioned by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union Address, and BU wants its students to be prepared to compete in this growing sector.
The new curriculum will give graduates, regardless of major, the skills they need to create their own products and to use the entrepreneurship skills they learned to successfully market and commercialize them. Additionally, students will benefit from BU’s partnership with regional industries and their investment in the modern technology they will be using once they enter the workforce. The EPIC facility will feature supply chain management software, 3-D printers, robotics, and laser processing. Eventually, BU hopes to open the facility to non-engineering undergraduates to give them an opportunity to take a class and have the opportunity to expose themselves to the latest technology in an industry with strong growth potential.
“Not only is the concept exciting, but it’s going to create a new kind of engineer that really is excited and knows what’s involved in product creation,” ENG Dean Kenneth Lutchen says. “This facility is meant to expose students to how you go from an idea to a manufacturing-ready and deployable product that you can make money with—and all the steps in between.” Lutchen, who has trademarked the phrase, calls them “societal engineers.” He says these up-and-comers must have a strong foundation in math and science and must be innovators, strong communicators, globally aware, and business-savvy. “The societal engineer is someone who has a passion to embed all of those attributes with an engineering background to come out the other side as someone who holistically wants to improve society,” he says.
BU has made a solid investment in not only their university but also in their students, the region, and the US economy by providing its students with the skills they will need to prosper after they graduate. The New England Council applauds BU’s commitment to its students and for supporting the region’s economy by investing in and appropriately educating the future work force.