Follow this link to go to the text only version of nasa.gov
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Follow this link to skip to the main content
+ Contact NASA
    
ABOUT NASA NEWS AND EVENTS MULTIMEDIA MISSIONS POPULAR TOPICS MyNASA

+ Home
AERONAUTICS RESEARCH MISSION DIRECTORATE
ABOUT US
PROGRAMS
ARMD NRA
TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE
PEOPLE
PARTNERSHIPS
REFERENCE MATERIALS
EVENTS AND EXHIBITS
EDUCATION
NEWS MEDIA
MULTIMEDIA

Related Links
+ Calendar
+ Congressional Testimony
+ View TGIR 2005
+ View TGIR Archives
+ Exhibits and Traveling Programs
+ Events Archives



Events Banner (Plane taking off)


EVENTS: ARMD WORKFORCE WORKSHOP BREAKOUT SESSION SUMMARY (JANUARY 2007)
On Thursday, January 11, 2007, at the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Reno, Nevada, ARMD Associate Administrator Dr. Lisa Porter moderated an afternoon breakout session to explore actionable ways through which NASA can partner to develop a technically-directed workforce.

This breakout session was a follow-up to ARMD's workforce development workshop held June 2006 in Washington, DC, where participants offered ideas on lecture series, fellowships, non-traditional support materials, assessment options, and ways to generate "the excitement factor." The goal of the January 2007 session was to build on the ideas expressed during the first workshop and to elicit suggestions from participants new to the discourse.

The AIAA breakout session attracted 60 participants from academia, industry, nonprofit organizations, and government to brainstorm strategies for engaging, inspiring, and accommodating students with technical interests.

A number of general issues impacting the ability to attract and retain a technical workforce were identified by participants during the session.

For example, representatives from industry raised many issues including:
  • the promotion of cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary approaches;
  • the development of programs that provide students with real-world work experiences;
  • the creation of effective vehicles through which industry and academia can inform each other of their needs; and
  • the balance of the need for education with the need for training.
And representatives from academia, including several graduate students in the audience, raised many issues including:
  • the promotion of multi-disciplinary approaches in partnership with industry and government;
  • the use of multi-disciplinary approaches to show students how their knowledge can be used in the real world;
  • improving the percentage of aerospace engineering students who take jobs in the aerospace sector as opposed to other engineering sectors;
  • offering courses in novel ways to engage students;
  • offering advanced technical courses while simultaneously addressing learning challenges brought by students from K-12 years; and
  • responding to pressure being placed on many universities to reduce credit hours.
Session participants also uniformly expressed the need to imbue excitement for aerospace engineering in students by telling the personal stories of professionals already working in the field, and to create ways to communicate to students the curiosity, awe, and excitement these professionals feel when they walk a production line floor or uncover a key finding.

In response to many of these issues, participants suggested a variety of actions, including:
  • Investigate the availability of tech-prep consortiums or Industrial Advisory Boards as venues for engaging industry and academia;
  • Pursue capstone design projects that promote multi-disciplinary integration and cross-fertilization with industry and government;
  • Research the outcomes of NASA-funded space grant activity and Workforce Development Project activities and then share any conclusions of what worked and what did not work;
  • Pursue cooperative programs as a valuable tool for offering work experience and for transitioning students into the workplace;
  • Explore whether industry can identify a demand and justification for offering continuing education requirements and web-based courses;
  • Explore novel and underutilized options at universities for scheduling technical courses such as winter intercession periods;
  • Include the concept of "milestones" and other tools such as Preliminary Design Reviews (PDRs) and Critical Design Reviews (CDRs) in project structures to expose students to real-world processes;
  • Communicate from industry to academia when industry has lulls in wind tunnel research during which academia could use the workspace at reduced cost; and
  • Explore the ability of industry aeronautics leaders or NASA leaders to serve on committees at state and national levels that set topics for K-12 standards and core curriculum requirements to advocate inclusion of emerging technologies.
At the conclusion of the breakout session, Dr. Porter identified a number of actionable items that ARMD will pursue, including:
  • Identify whether data from NASA-funded Workforce Development Projects can be accessed and reviewed to generate lessons-learned, particularly from "success stories", from among the different projects; and
  • Explore feasibility of partnering with the Air Force to create something similar to the University Nanosatellite Program, but with an aeronautics focus, as a way to introduce students to the concept of design-and-build and the discipline associated with those processes.
Comments and input about ARMD's activities in support of workforce development and higher education should be directed to:

Tony Springer
NASA Aeronautics Research
tony.springer@nasa.gov




MORE INFO IN NASA SITE NETWORK

+ USA.gov - The U.S. government's official web portal.
+ Freedom of Information Act
+ Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
+ The President's Management Agenda
+ Privacy Policy and Important Notices
+ Inspector General Hotline
+ Equal Employment Opportunity Data Posted Pursuant
to the No Fear Act

+ Information-Dissemination Priorities and Inventories
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Editor: Karen Rugg
NASA Official: Tony Springer
Last Updated: June 1, 2007
+ Contact NASA