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Case Western Adds Product Lifecycle Management to Engineering Program

Case Western Reserve University is adding hands-on smarts to its engineering program with a collaboration involving global product development company PTC and the NASA Glenn Research Center. PTC will be donating product lifecycle management (PLM) software and servers to the institution through its academic program, and NASA will be coming up with projects for the students to develop. The initiative was forged through the Strategic Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering (SPACE), a multidisciplinary, multi-university program that brings together high school and university students with engineers in business to develop projects that give participants real-world experience.

"The educational community needs to get students interested and then maintain that interest for engineering and technical careers," said Michael Grieves, a PLM author and consultant to NASA. "Students that get involved with meaningful projects and the software tools to enable those projects earlier in their education are better equipped to utilize that knowledge in their careers. These are the people who will utilize digital technologies to create, manufacture, and get to market the next generation of products."

PTC is donating Windchill, software for gathering application requirements, and Creo, a computer-aided design application, along with servers for use by students to design, test, and simulate development of new products. Case Western will use the donation to form the beginnings of a product lifecycle management center of excellence, which will be part of its engineering program. Instructors will be able to receive professional development to learn how to integrate the project work into their curriculum. The company said that it has trained more than 45,000 teachers through its academic program; those instructors, in turn, have reached 10 million students.

"Case Western Reserve prides itself on giving our students an education that combines both theory and practical applications in an integrative curriculum," said Iwan Alexander, chair of the university's department of aerospace and mechanical engineering. The work undertaken by the university's students, he added, "will help make Case students more attractive to employers because of the opportunity to apply the skills they acquired in design- and manufacturing-related classes to actual problems in the aerospace sector."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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