A new kind of development professional: The development engineer

DevEx (Do Good. Do it Well) published this article about the Development Engineering program under the direction of Alice Agogino and the DevEng Graduate Group. Much of the article talks about the core course in the program she co-teaches with David Levine in the Haas School of Business: Design, Develop and Evaluate Development Technologies.

Some quotes below:

“We’re really interested in impact, so we want to scale for impact at the very get go,” Alice Agogino, a legendary mechanical engineering professor who teaches the course along with David Levine from the Haas School of Business, said over the microphone.

Agogino, the first woman to receive tenure in her field at UC Berkeley, often taught classes without a single woman enrolled, but that’s changing with the Development Engineering designated emphasis and this required course, which achieved 50 percent enrollment of women in one academic year.

“We’re trying to understand what are the really fundamental research questions and challenges and extend the state of the art,” Agogino said of the way she and other faculty involved in the Designated Emphasis are establishing the research agenda.

Too often, international development work happens in silos, with agricultural economists talking to agricultural economists and behavioral scientists talking to behavioral scientists. But development engineers are used to working together in the spirit of companies like SpaceX and Tesla, where the factory floors pair engineers in white-collar jobs with technicians in blue-collar jobs. It may take a while to formalize the field of development engineering, but in the meantime, any engineers can follow these tips to think more globally, and all development professionals could learn from a budding example of collaboration.

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