According to the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), graduate-level studies in technology are designed to prepare technologists to focus on the applied challenges of society, industry, and government through integration- and implementation- oriented activities (2009). Although the association’s affiliated institutions and membership have been interested in research and graduate education for many years, increased discussion is needed concerning both the goals and delivery of graduate programs leading to master’s and doctoral degrees related to the field for the 21st century. Many of the academic participants in this organization, as well as others, work at universities that include a College of Technology (COT) or similar department-level entity associated with applied engineering, management, or industrial technology. Many of these organizations are currently examining their research and engagement efforts in light of the currently shrinking state and federal budgets and an increasing demand on the part of faculty and students for resources to conduct research. As such, these institutions are exploring ways to align strategic plans with university, state, and federal objectives. They are trying to engage industry in a manner that provides value to both parties. All of this is taking place in an environment where future funding streams and organizational infrastructures are uncertain. In order to promote confidence in the academic research agenda of technology-based programs, a clear vision for research and engagement efforts in technology disciplines is necessary. The authors advocate a definition of research activity and strategy that includes traditional funding sources for research, as well as a fresh look at how an engaged graduate program in a technology discipline would function. The strategic plans for both the university and the college where these authors are employed revolve around the following mission: serving the citizens of the state, the nation, and the world through discovery that expands the realm of knowledge; learning through dissemination and preservation of knowledge; and engagement through exchange of knowledge. A major goal of a technology department or college should be to further develop graduate education in fulfillment of this vision. Presently at the authors’ institution, the COT is going through a process of implementing individual master’s degrees in the academic areas of each technology department in the college while continuing to deliver the Ph.D. in Technology at the college level. Such work has caused the technology graduate faculty to (a) formulate the role of graduate education within the context of the larger university community, and (b) articulate how graduate education in technology may differ from that of the other colleges and schools in the academy. While the authors acknowledge that the depth and breadth of implementation of the suggested research activities in this article will vary among institutions, it is hoped that any technology-based department or college could generalize this approach to advance graduate education at its institution. The purpose of this paper is twofold. This work presents a general discussion of the theoretical foundation for graduate education in technology followed by specific applications of research activities within graduate education in technology. This paper represents the authors’ view of the role of graduate education in (a) advancing the knowledge base, (b) adapting a research paradigm, (c) preparing the future Technology faculty, (d) capitalizing on the research interests of the faculty, (e) addressing industry’s challenges in implementing and adapting technology, and (f) structuring graduate education in technology.
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