Michigan Technological University
Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech or Tech) prepares students to develop, understand, apply, manage and communicate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Home to more than 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students, the institution offers 130 degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical, and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.
Located in the spectacularly beautiful yet generally not well known Upper Peninsula of Michigan, at Michigan Tech students create the future. They invent, design, analyze, code, and create. They hypothesize and test. They pull all-nighters in labs and studios, wade through rivers, crawl into caves. They have wet feet, pink cheeks, and grit under their fingernails.
Traditionally, colleges and universities have provided industry with graduates well educated in their discipline specific knowledge. These students have the depth of skills in the area for which they wished to work. STEMConnector calls this traditional model STEM 1.0. And as those with these skills get set to retire, as global competition increases demand, and as the essentials of the modern talent pool come into sharper focus, we are left with a U-shaped talent gap. This talent gap is echoed in the Gallup-Lumina Foundation Poll featured in the introduction of this book.
Represents 2015 Gallup-Lumina Foundation
One way to describe Michigan Tech’s curricula is within five capability platforms. This is similar to what STEMConnector names STEM 2.0. We call this the “Michigan Tech T-shaped student.” A Tech T-shaped student goes beyond someone with just discipline specific knowledge. Michigan Tech’s programs are meant to get students jobs. Real jobs. Great jobs. Jobs in fields both traditional and cutting-edge—engineering, forestry, business, computing, medicine, the arts. Jobs that lead to successful, lifelong careers. Students don’t choose Tech because everyone else is doing it. They come for the guts, not the glory. They’re here because it’s real. It’s authentic. It feels right. They know the work will be hard, and that’s okay. They don’t want to theorize about how to make the world a better place—they want to step outside, roll up their sleeves, and get it done.
The Michigan Tech T-Shaped Student
How do we know this? We asked. We surveyed our recruiters what they thought of our Tech T-shaped students, using the same questions as the Gallup-Lumina Foundation poll. The third illustration compares the Gallup-Lumina poll responses to the responses our recruiters gave us.
21st Century STEM Talent-Competency Model
Michigan Tech graduates earn the 10th highest starting salaries in the nation among US public universities, have a 96 percent undergraduate placement rate, and are recruited by nearly 440 companies visiting campus each year. More importantly, our graduates are entering the world prepared to contribute ideas, lead, and effect great change.
In the 2014-15 academic year Michigan Tech saw 1440 graduates placed into jobs in their trained discipline. With an average salary of $62,800 (Payscale.com data), this translates into over $90,000,000 infused into the economy. Michigan Tech and institutions with similar academic profiles are proving to be this new century’s best answer to increased social mobility.
We can go beyond merely meeting the demands of the 21st century U-shaped talent gap. We can deploy a robust workforce that will deliver the innovative leadership necessary to successfully thrust the global marketplace forward. Through investment in purposeful, interdisciplinary development across multiple platforms designed to enhance students’ experience in meaningful, applicable ways, the Tech T model can be leveraged to propel tomorrow’s STEM professional today.