How Engineering Has Shifted in the Digital Age

Dr. Leo Kempel - Dean of Michigan State University's College of Engineering

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Engineering programs today are growing and adapting to the digital transformation that's taking place in the workforce.

Michigan State University is a prime example of a school that has listened to its regional employers, tracked technological advances, and is adapting its engineering programs to prepare students for the digital workforce.

In this episode, we talk with Dr. Leo Kempel, Dean of MSU's College of Engineering. Big projects are underway at MSU, including the development of the Engineering and Digital Innovation Center and a new Engineering Technology degree.

Leo shares incredible insights into how the work of engineers is shifting as digital transformation takes over the workforce - and how education should respond.

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. Digital engineering means faster innovation: Digital twins, augmented reality and a digital thread through the design and manufacturing process enables today's engineers to be more creative, more involved and have a tighter design cycle. That means engineers can design, test and deploy new systems faster than ever before, processes can be improved more efficiently, and mass customization at a desirable price-point is now possible.
  2. Modern engineering is cross-disciplinary & global: To make industry 4.0 a reality, you need to involve experts from every aspect of the business - design, engineering, production, supply chain, business, marketing, IT and more. The new Engineering and Digital Innovation Center will replicate this kind of cross-disciplinary work. Students from different programs, like engineering, cybersecurity, natural science, business, supply chain management, user experience and arts and computer science, will work on projects together. This experience will give MSU students a huge advantage as they enter a digital, global, and collaborative workforce.
  3. Semiconductors are essential to the success of the digital industrial workforce: To power a world driven by smart technology, we need semiconductors and chips. There's been a massive shift of semiconductor manufacturing back to the United States, and MSU is taking part in both the research around semiconductor technology and the training of engineers who will work in the semiconductor industry.


Book mentioned in this episode: Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology

To learn more about Michigan State University's College of Engineering, visit their website:


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