Education and Training on CAD in Colleges and Universities

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Some high schools and vocational schools are already providing CAD training for young people. In January, 1985, West Virginia became the first state to adopt CAD for instruction state-wide. Initially, AutoCAD systems (heavily-used micro-based CAD software that runs on personal computers) were placed in six area drafting centers, with up to ten stations at each site. Later, AutoCAD was installed in such diverse classroom environments as automotive mechanics, wood shop, and even home economics.

"We see the computer as a powerful drawing and design tool," says Clarence Burdette, Assistant Superintendent of West Virginia's Schools for Vocational, Technical, and Adult Education. "By learning drafting skills on a computer instead of a drafting board, the student is exposed to the basic principles of CAD."

In New Jersey, 18 local area vocational school districts and 20 county area vocational-technical schools offer CAD/CAM instruction. A complete list is available from Richard Van Gulik, Industrial Technology Specialist, Bureau of Industrial Technology, Division of Vocational Education, State of New Jersey, Department of Education, 225 W. State St., CN 500, Trenton, New Jersey 08625.

Each year, the Trade and Industrial Education Association of New Jersey cooperate with the Department of Vocational Education, Trenton State College, to sponsor a 40-hour summer institute for training in CAD/CAM and robotics. Information is available from Dr. William Alexander, Chairman, Department of Vocational Education, Trenton State College CN 550, Trenton, New Jersey 08625.

Sources of Information

One way to learn about CAD/CAM training at the secondary or vocational/technical level is to write your appropriate state officials and request information about schools. Most public libraries have a copy of State Administrative Officials, Classified by Function, a periodically-updated book published by the Council of State Governments (Lexington, Kentucky) and edited by L. Edward Purcell. Look under "Vocational Education" for the name, department, address, and telephone number of your state official who runs the department. If your state doesn't have a "Vocational Education" department, try "Industrial Development."

Other library sources of information about courses in CAD or CAM are books which list the names of colleges and universities awarding degrees in different fields. Books like Lovejoy's College Guide and College Blue Book (Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, New York) are usually on library reference shelves. Write the schools directly, and ask for information.

Another way of getting names of colleges and universities that offer training in CAD, CAM, or both is to write the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, (SME), and One SME Drive, P.O. Box 930, Dearborn, Michigan 48121. This association has more than 400 chapters throughout the world.

Within SME there are two associations of special interest: CASA (Computer & Automated Systems Association), and RI (Robotics International). Each sponsors activities, seminars and conferences. Write the association's membership department at One SME Drive, P.O. Box 930, Dearborn, Michigan 48121, or call them at (313) 271-1088, for information.

Minority Recruiting

You'll find more information on special programs and associations for women and minorities in a later chapter. However, schools and colleges often join together in recruitment programs specifically designed to introduce talented young people to engineering at an early age.

Notable is Georgia Tech's Freshman Engineering Workshop, which, every summer, invites 9th grade students from minority backgrounds, including Black, Hispanic, and American Indian, to visit the campus daily, meet with faculty, visit companies that employ engineers, and plan careers in engineering or related fields.

More information on Georgia Tech's program is available from the Director of Special Programs, College of Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta GA 30332, (404) 894-3354.

Similar enrichment, awareness, or recruitment programs exist at other universities, usually in a metropolitan area. Illinois Institute of Technology, for example, offers programs for talented Chicago-area youngsters. Ask your school guidance counselor for details, or write the Affirmative Action Officer at a college or university near you.

Questions to Ask

As you consider various schools and colleges, you will want to ask specific questions. How long have they been teaching courses in CAD or CAM? How close are their ties to industry? Do they offer co-op programs or internships? What percentage of their graduates are working in CAD, CAM, robotics, or related fields? Are courses taught primarily from the theoretical viewpoint, or do students have chances for plenty of hands-on experience with labs and equipment?

Colleges and Universities

The list of schools, colleges, and universities which follows is by no means conclusive. It represents some of the varied opportunities open to those who want courses relating to CAD/CAM and robotics technology.

Contact SME, One SME Drive, P.O. Box 930, Dearborn, Michigan 48121 (313:271-1500, x341) for a list of colleges and universities, primarily at the two-year level, that offer programs in robotics technology or related fields.

In the field of robotics particularly, however, job opportunities may not be keeping pace with training and education. Dr. Richard Wysk, associate professor of industrial engineering at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the accreditation committee for ABET (Accreditation Bureau for Engineering and Technology) says there were more students graduating from programs as robotic technologists in 1985 than there were robots manufactured in American industry. Before you decide to major in robotics technology, therefore, you may want to ask members of an RI chapter near you what they think of future employment opportunities.

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

At the largest college of engineering in the United States, and the first to offer a university program in Industrial Engineering, students with special interests in CAD/CAM or robotics have several options. Those who major in industrial engineering study topics like manufacturing systems and automation, management information systems, and engineering humanistic (which deals with ergonomics) while learning to create an integrated environment between people and machinery. Those primarily interested in mechanical design major in mechanical engineering; and those who prefer to deal with the electronics that make machinery work, choose electrical engineering.

Penn State's programs are lab-based. Manufacturing facilities laboratories range from traditional machines all the way up to modern flexible manufacturing systems (FMS).

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

At the University of Michigan, the Center for Robotics and Integrated Manufacturing, established in 1981, is a focus for new research in manufacturing related activities. New courses in robotics and manufacturing are being continually introduced. The departments of Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Industrial and Operations Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics take part in the Robot.
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