Custom Made is produced every Sunday and so make sure you hit subscribe on your favorite podcasting app via the links at the end of this post to get our latest episodes as they are released.

We are on episode #27 and this week I am joined by Mark Fontenot a Clinical Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University here in Dallas.

At SMU, Mark teaches classes focusing on software development, software engineering, and database systems.

Previously, Mark was Founding Faculty-in-Residence of Loyd Residential Commons, and he served as Director of First Year Engineering Design in the Lyle School. His research interests are in engineering education focusing on the measurement of individual innovative behavior and fostering the creative and innovative capacity of undergraduate engineering and computer science students.

In addition to teaching and research, Mark is an academic adviser to computer science majors, and serves on various committees throughout the university.

On this weeks episode Mark and I are discussing what changes are needed when educating the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.

During this episode we discuss what is wrong with the traditional model of engineering education and challenge the difference between teaching theory vs. application in the real-world.

Mark cannot stress the importance of the human side of engineering education, and that the so-called “Soft Skills” don't necessarily come that easily to lots of engineering students.

We discuss how education institutions must teach students the need to build products and solve problems for other humans, not just for the sake of building and using cool technology. These institutions need to be teaching students to think about the user – to be empathetic!

Additionally students must gain experience not just working together with others in a team, but collaborating and communicating across teams and with different stakeholders.

And finally we discuss how to nurture a culture of innovative and creative problem solvers. Mark outlines the Three (non-linear) components of Innovative Work Behavior:

  • Idea Generation
  • Idea Promotion
  • Idea Implementation

You can catch Mark's full Custom Made episode here or via the podcast links below:

You can get all episodes of Custom Made on these platforms and many more. Do subscribe on your favorite platform to catch each episode as it is released, and let me know any feedback, questions, and recommendations on twitter @dougplatts.

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