[ skip to content ]

ODU Among Nation's Top Schools Chosen to Participate in Naval Engineering Education Consortium

Old Dominion University has been selected as one of 15 institutions nationwide to participate in the Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC), designed to generate naval engineering talent for the U.S. Navy.

The coalition includes schools with deep traditions of naval engineering excellence, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. Oktay Baysal, dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, said it's a natural fit that ODU to be invited to participate.

The agreement was struck May 6 with the U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). According to NAVSEA, the NEEC will educate and develop world-class naval systems engineers for the Navy's civilian acquisition and engineering workforce.

"It's truly a fantastic opportunity for ODU to build on its current programs and capabilities through NEEC," Baysal said. "It's also a recognition of our commitment to marine engineering in a variety of areas at the Batten College."

ODU engineering has institutes and laboratories that study naval and marine engineering topics, such as: ship maintenance, repair and operations; the LEAN Institute; the Dynamic Environment Simulation Laboratory; and coastal engineering.

These hubs of excellence maintain close ties with the industry and organizations in the area, such as Northrup Grumman, the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) and the Virginia Ship Repairers Association.

ODU's funded research includes numerous projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Naval Surface Weapons Center, Space and Naval Warfare Center, and the United States Coast Guard. Research projects range from marine engineering education, intelligent ship design, lean production and manufacturing, risk management and systems optimization, high-performance craft and autonomous underwater vehicles.

The Batten College has established marine engineering educational programs that are specifically catered to the Navy. ODU offers asynchronous master's degree education on CD-ROM to naval officers deployed around the world. Many submarine captains in the United States Navy have completed, or are completing, a master's in engineering management from the college's Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering.

The NEEC Consortium will include ASNE and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME). Other schools invited to participate in the NEEC to date include Penn State University, Virginia Tech, Florida State University, Florida Atlantic University, the University of Iowa, the University of Texas-San Antonio, the University of New Orleans and the University of Washington.

"The NEEC will provide NAVSEA a pipeline of engineers in critical engineering career fields to address the challenges we face in building and sustaining the 21st-century Navy," said Brian Persons, NAVSEA executive director. "This is a huge step to help address Navy research and engineering development needs and challenges. It is the newest tool in NAVSEA's Talent Management Strategy to develop, attract and retain the broader more capable workforce."

Baysal said Old Dominion already has been doing exactly that.

"If you look at the engineering management master's degree program, the large number of Naval ROTC students completing undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees while at ODU, and the commitment ODU has made to distance learning, it's clear we're well positioned to contribute to the vital job of supplying smart, motivated engineering graduates to the United States Navy," he said.

The NEEC Consortium will increase the number of students who graduate with an accredited degree; provide world-class faculty specialized in naval engineering; coordinate employee development opportunities to retain naval engineering talent for the Navy; and increase the availability of naval engineering education programs and courses across universities and colleges.

A key part of the NEEC is using project-based education to provide naval engineering experience to students. NEEC project teams from the universities, along with a NAVSEA engineer or scientist assigned to the teams, will tackle current and future technical challenges, including the use of alternative energy sources, energy conservation, total ownership cost reduction, use of unmanned vehicles, advanced ship design methods and maintenance reduction. Through NAVSEA internships and at-sea opportunities on U.S. Navy ships, students will receive relevant, hands-on naval engineering experience.

Additionally, the NEEC universities will partner with ASNE and SNAME to develop a robust program of K-12 outreach to increase a student pipeline across the nation of students interested in pursuing education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields.

"Again, through our existing institutes, labs and programs, we're 'ahead of the curve' here," Baysal said.

This article was posted on: May 21, 2010

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.