October 24, 2003
South Dakota Tech’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing and Production is growing up.
“We have passed Teaming 101 and are well on our way through Teaming 200,” said CAMP co-director <b>Dr. Dan Dolan</b>, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
CAMP was started to integrate students, faculty and industry partners into a center whose purpose is to provide a unique approach to design and manufacturing engineering education. That unique approach is based on the concept of enterprise teams that simultaneously address explicit needs of industry. It provides the major effort in developing the soft skills and hands-on work now demanded by industry and the accreditation agencies. Students work on competition team projects or projects supported by regional industry. Assistive technologies, economic development and entrepreneurial types of projects are encouraged.
Since it began in 1997, it has grown and changed. It offers nine projects for students, better equipment, better tools, better communication between teams, broader perspective in the leadership of CAMP with the addition of a psychology professor, and a truly student-centered environment, Dolan said.
Any Tech student can participate in any CAMP project, but students also can apply to be official CAMP members. Students apply for those positions much as they would apply for a job. They submit resumes and cover letters to the CAMP directors, and must have a 3.0 or better GPA and an intent to be a leader within the organization. If they meet these two criteria, they are generally selected as CAMP members, Dolan said.
There are many benefits to being involved in CAMP.
“Students get to lead projects or work in the state-of-the-art labs supported by CAMP,” Dolan said. “They get to attend leadership and teaming seminars and retreats. They are able to honestly state on their resumes that they have teaming, leadership and project experience that is a tremendous benefit in the job market, and they get to travel to and take part in regional, national or international student competitions.”
<b>Dr. Jim McReynolds</b>, chair and associate professor, Department of Social Sciences, agreed.
“There is a rapid evolution of organizational structures going on now,” he said. “This is based on the increasing recognition that the lifespan for many products, particularly technical ones, is increasingly brief, and that the more traditional ways of doing business – that's the way we have always done it – are increasingly maladaptive.
“Part of this organizational evolution recognizes that employees, all of them, represent untapped potential with their experiences, and, additionally, have vision, imagination and creativity that is also untapped,” he said. “To maintain the competitive edge, many, if not most organizations, view the teaming process as a way of tapping into the full range of potential employee contributions.”
CAMP uses that approach to the projects it offers to prepare students for the environment they’ll find when they graduate and move into the workforce.
“This is why (the accrediting agency) ABET and our own industrial advisory board are actively pushing Tech to bring out more in our students,” McReynolds said. “There is the recognition that the process by which goals are achieved influences the rate of progress and the quality of the outcome.
“At this time, the teaming process seems to be the best way to do this, but this process requires the acquisition of skills not usually associated with scientific or engineering education such as cooperation, actively listening, conflict resolution, mutual accountability, trust and open communication in completing specific projects,” he said. “For our students to be more successful in their professional careers, CAMP was developed to provide students with these increasingly important experiences of completing projects accompanied by acquiring the skills which bring out the best individuals.”
So far, it��s working.
The following students are newly selected members of CAMP.
<b>Wayne Baker</b>, Mechanical Engineering
<b>Bobbie Crater</b>, Mechanical Engineering
<b>Patrick Dardis</b>, Industrial Engineering
<b>Adam Dickinson</b>, Computer Science
<b>Jessica Duba</b>, Electrical Engineering
<b>Jason Howe</b>, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Engineering
<b>Andy Kannenberg</b>, Computer Engineering
<b>Chad Kirby</b>, Mechanical Engineering
<b>Chris Kroetch</b>, Mechanical Engineering
<b>Patricia Krugjohn</b>, Mechanical Engineering
<b>Matt Reiffenberger</b>, Mechanical Engineering
<b>Tyler Schiltz</b>, Mechanical Engineering
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