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22 SMT007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2023 Feature Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Rob Sleezer is associate professor of inte- grated engineering at Minnesota State Uni- versity, and lead for Twin Cities Engineering (TCE), a two-year engineering professional school with a non-traditional approach to the curriculum—and one that just might turn out more industry-savvy graduates than traditional programs. Rob, introduce us to Twin Cities Engineering. What do you do there? TCE is an extended campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato. We are a project- based program which exists in a space at a partner school. at means that we are not only one of the best engineering programs in the state, we are also the least expensive, which is really cool. What "project-based" engineering means to us is our engineers do their pre-engineering at some other place (anywhere). Some of them might even do it in Mankato. Regardless, they transfer to us because they're moving from that space into our extended campus space. We've specifically partnered with Normandale Com- munity College and Saint Paul College, where we have lab spaces. When a student engineer joins us as a first semester junior ( J1), the first thing we do is put them on the equivalent of a capstone project. We then work to contex- tualize their design professional and technical learning to that project as best we can. That makes sense to integrate their experiences. In fact, we are the Department of Integrated Engineering. We integrate across multiple domains and disciplines, in terms of integra- tion of concepts across the business side of things. ese are all really important to us. A Unique Engineering Space in Mankato

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