Curriculum Review Provides an Opportunity for Student Mentoring
By MC2 Taylor Vencill
Vice Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe Jr., Director for Strategic Systems Programs (SSP), visited the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Nov. 26-28, to perform a periodic review of the university’s system engineering (SE) curriculum.
“Every two years, the director of SSP comes out and reviews the program, making any modifications or changes needed based on the current needs of both what I need as the SSP and what the Navy needs,” explained Wolfe. “They really do provide the Navy’s technical expertise from a curriculum and learning perspective, making sure we have the right talent in the right place for the Navy.”
During his visit, Wolfe also took the opportunity to meet one on one with a handful of engineering students to provide them with an experienced perspective and advice on their careers.
“I’m an engineering duty officer (EDO), and we have a lot of engineering duty officers that come through the postgraduate school,” said Wolfe. “We talk with them about what their jobs are going to be, how they’re doing in school, and round everything out with individual counseling,” he added.
For the students, the opportunity provided them with an invaluable interaction with the senior leadership of their field.
“It really helps with networking,” said Lt. Andrew Miller. “Talking with leaders eye-to-eye really helps, compared to just looking at someone as a name on paper. It’s huge, especially with a small community like the engineering community.”
Wolfe’s review of the SE curriculum included a recommendation to look at the addition of cyber to the program … Fortunately, it’s a specialty of NPS.
“We are really putting a lot more focus on the cybersecurity aspect of everything,” said Wolfe. “When you look at how you engineer and design systems, learning in this environment how to think about the cyber aspect is one of those things you need to design and engineer into your system at the very beginning of the process.”
System engineering is considered a major component in today’s Navy, Wolfe says, touching almost every aspect of the service and its platforms.
“If you fundamentally think about everything we do in the Navy, everything is a system,” said Wolfe. “Everything we design starts with a list of requirements and a process to take those through to guarantee we got the system right.
“By using the systems engineering curriculum here at NPS, it really gives the engineers that graduate the fundamental foundation of how to integrate the mechanicals and electricals into a system view to make sure everything works properly,” he added.