The Swanson Program at Cornell University Integrating Simulation into the Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

In 2000, the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University embarked on a program to integrate engineering simulation tools into their undergraduate courses. Even back then, the Sibley School faculty recognized the introduction of engineering simulation tools into the curriculum as a critical element in the upgrading and modernization of mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) instruction. This initiative was made possible by a gift from Dr. John Swanson, who endowed a faculty position to implement the program. Dr Swanson is the founder of ANSYS, Inc., now a leading provider of engineering simulation software like ANSYS Mechanical for structures and ANSYS Fluent for fluid flow. The Swanson program is unique in engineering education since it supports a full-time faculty member to help integrate simulations into the curriculum using the same tools that professionals use. This faculty member is charged with helping other faculty members incorporate simulation into courses. There is no comparable program at any other university to our knowledge. 

One of us (Bhaskaran) was recruited to administer and manage this effort; labeled the Swanson program. An Advisory Committee comprising of about a dozen representatives from software companies like ANSYS, Mathworks and PTC as well as large industrial companies like Boeing, General Electric and General Motors was established. At that time, companies seeking engineers to do simulation were faced with training them themselves or seeking graduate engineers who had some exposure to simulation in master's or PhD programs. For this reason, the Swanson program was strongly supported and encouraged by the industrial members of the Advisory Committee.

Document Details

AuthorsMeintjes. K Bhaskaran. R
AudiencesStudent Student Educator
TypeMagazine Article
Date 1st April 2018
OrganisationsCIMdata Cornell University


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