College of Engineering / Research / Centers / Thomas Walter Center / Director's Note

Director's Note

The Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management is going through many exciting and significant changes to provide students with more opportunities to learn and grow in the changing engineering and business world. We believe these modifications will provide greater flexibility and value for Auburn’s engineering and business students.

The cornerstone of the Thomas Walter Center is the Business Engineering Technology (BET) program. The undergraduate minor is designed to give business and engineering students a unique blend of product innovation, business analyses, and product marketing to teach young entrepreneurs  the fundamentals in designing new products, protecting intellectual property, building a business plan, creating a marketing strategy, and launching a business.

This fall, the BET program will unveil a redesigned 1 hour introduction course entitled “Business, Engineering, and Leadership”. We will bring in many industry leaders to give students prospective in the business and engineering environments and their vision of the business world over the coming decades. We will also move the second course  “Integrating Business and Engineering Theories with Practice” (BUSI 3520), to the fall semester to run concurrently with the introductory class. In the spring we will introduce a new course which will integrate design concepts with fabrication and manufacturing planning, to teach the students how to conceptualize a product, produce the product, and evaluate the process needs and costs for high volume production. The second year courses will remain the same with the exception of moving some material from the old introductory class (specifically intellectual property) to the fall class of the second year. The current changes being introduced are designed to add new course material and link the BET program to Auburn’s graduate education programs. Additionally, the three second year courses will be offered at the graduate level as well as the undergraduate level to allow students the ability to use the accelerated MBA option being expanded from the Harbert College of Business.

The Thomas Walter Center is also in the process of creating a new master’s program in engineering management which will be part of  Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. This program should be announced in the fall of 2016, pending university and State of Alabama approval.

Another exciting opportunity for students being created under the Thomas Walter Center is the project based study abroad. For the first program we are teaming with the College of Business to offer students an opportunity to take several summer classes in engineering and work with Auburn business students in Rome on an industry driven project. We have over 10 companies that have agreed to host Auburn students for summer 2016. Students get to spend a month in Rome working with an Italian company, learning Italian culture, language, and corporate operation, while taking degree credit. The Thomas Walter Center plans to expand these activities in the coming years with several new locations.

The application process for the BET program will be open until the first week of April, and the Rome study abroad program application is open until March 15th. I hope you will see these opportunities as a significant supplement to the Auburn educational experience.