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NPS Professor Appointed Editor-In-Chief of “Systems Engineering” Journal

Dr. Clifford Whitcomb, a professor in NPS’ Department of Systems Engineering, will serve as the new Editor-In-Chief of “Systems Engineering” Journal.

NPS Department of Systems Engineering Professor Clifford Whitcomb has been selected to serve as the new Editor-In-Chief (EIC) of “Systems Engineering” journal, a bimonthly publication recognized as a respected, forward-looking archival resource for systems engineering and related fields.

“My experience in systems engineering at NPS has prepared me very well for my position as the EIC of ‘Systems Engineering,’” said Whitcomb. “Much of the basis for accomplishing systems engineering development in the past 50 years has come from defense and defense-related industries. Defense systems acquisition, in particular, has provided a fundamental basis for understanding the fundamentals of systems engineering methods and applications.”

Whitcomb joined NPS in 2005 shortly after the Department of Systems Engineering (SE) was tasked by the Naval Sea Systems Command to develop an SE curriculum for the education of naval engineering duty officers.

“I was able to begin my career at NPS by being a team member for the design, development and deployment of that systems engineering curriculum, and for the subsequent advancement of the development of systems engineering education and research for the Navy and DOD,” said Whitcomb. “My NPS experience in defense systems acquisition translated directly to being able to demonstrate a depth and breadth of systems engineering knowledge, skills and abilities to enable me to be selected as the new EIC for the journal.”

Whitcomb says he regularly encourages students to read “Systems Engineering” and similar journals that publish on SE-related topics. There are several papers authored by NPS SE faculty in the journal, and several NPS alumni have also been published in them. In the end, he says, professional journals like “Systems Engineering” can serve as important resources for our students as they begin developing their theses.

“I led the development of, and teach, a series of SE orientation and graduate success seminars where I introduce every new graduate student in SE to critical thinking and effective writing,” said Whitcomb. “In those seminars, the students are exposed to our chosen model for critical thinking through engineering reasoning and complete an exercise to assess an author’s reasoning in a published article.

“We have used articles from Systems Engineering in those exercises from time to time,” he continued. “We also include an introduction to writing in the seminars, and have the NPS Graduate Writing Center and [Dudley Knox] Library introduce topics on effective writing and the use of library resources to find journal articles for their research.

“By having the students develop an understanding that writing is making your thinking visible, and connecting them to journal articles, we are able to help them connect to the larger body of knowledge that is captured by archival journals and use these in their thinking and writing,” he stressed.


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