Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Main content start

Stanford collaboration with GM recognized by American Society for Engineering Education

Excellence in Engineering Education Collaboration Award recognizes joint development of course that helps GM engineers improve products, processes and services.


Stanford University and General Motors have received an Excellence in Engineering Education Collaboration Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in recognition of Stanford’s long-standing collaboration with General Motors’ Technical Education Program (GM TEP). 

The award recognizes ASEE Corporate Member Companies who demonstrate best practices in collaborative efforts with education to enhance engineering education. Stanford’s collaboration with General Motors dates back to 1986, when they jointly developed the Design for Manufacturability curriculum. Stanford initially offered the curriculum to GM engineers through videotape delayed instruction. Today the two-quarter sequence, called ME317 Design Methods, is delivered online through the Stanford Center for Professional Development. Live interaction with the Stanford teaching team through webinars and faculty site visits provides a critical component for GM engineers who form cross-functional teams and collaborate on proprietary projects that have direct impact on their work.

The course helps GM engineers improve products, processes and services. One GM team was challenged to address potential issues that customers might encounter when refueling the new Chevy Volt electric car. The team tackled this project while enrolled in Stanford’s Design Methods course and was able to use the insights gleaned from the course to balance benefits, costs and risks in a proposal that provided realistic improvements in process efficiency.

Recognizing that the process of developing sound design is increasingly complex, GM TEP worked with Stanford to incorporate classes into a certificate program called the Design for Customer Value and Market Success Graduate Certificate. The program helps GM engineers learn and understand issues such as sustainability, risk analysis and product life cycle as part of the integrated design process. Stanford has been offering this certificate to GM since 2003.

“We have been pleased to work with General Motors to create and deliver a customized platform of graduate education,” said Paul Marca, executive director of Stanford Center for Professional Development. “Our partnership is successful due in large part to the expertise and commitment of our faculty and a company that places a high value on employee education.”

General Motors calculates that the projects worked on through the Stanford-GM partnership have saved the company more than $25 million, improving quality and increasing efficiency. Since 1995, 834 GM employees have enrolled in ME317 and 207 employees have completed the certificate program.