Proposed SNAME POA&M for Continuing Education

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Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M)
Society of Naval Architects and Marine EngineersContinuing Education Program

Prepared by: Chris B. McKesson

Draft date: 20 December 2012



For most naval architects and marine engineers, the initial contact with SNAME comes from the purchase of textbooks during the college years. SNAME is thus positioned in the mind as the source of educational materials, which will be used in conjunction with formal lecture for professional formation.

This relationship continues throughout the professional career, with the structured use of SNAME-authored textbooks in a classroom being replaced by the unstructured exposure of ongoing research results via the Annual Meeting, symposia, etc. Between these two extremes there lies also a role for a structured program of Continuing Education, described in this Plan.

Continuing Education includes some elements of classroom education in that it is structured and formalized, with a teacher and possibly with exams and homework. It is different from University-based or Certificate-granting programs in that it is generally available ad hoc, and without many of the administrative formalities (and perquisites) of University education.

This Plan describes a program of Continuing Education (CE) offerings that will serve to:

  1. Build upon SNAME’s position as the provider of the definitive texts in the industry
  2. Satisfy through-career needs of SNAME’s membership
  3. Promote the marine industry and related fields to non-member audiences


Needs of Members

Member need for continuing education falls broadly into three categories:

  • CE Credits required for professional certification (e.g. PDHs)
  • Supplemental skills with or (without CE Credits) sought as part of a personal development plan
  • Supplemental skills needed immediately in order to complete a project or assignment

These three categories span a scale which includes variations in the degree to which individual courses are integrated to form a broader “curriculum”, and also the scale of immediacy ranging from, say, annual offerings of PDH credit to “need it now” training or refresher in some topic.

The above categories may be considered as categories of delivery but what of content? The author of this POA&M, working in the context of curriculum development at the University of New Orleans, developed a list of topics relevant to naval architecture and marine engineering. I have then culled this list down to show only those topics which could be adequately covered in less than eight hours, and for which it is easy to find suggested lecturers.

The resulting list is given in Table 1. It represents an impressive menu of member needs. I do not suggest that we should immediately offer all of these courses, but this does give us a menu with breadth from which to revamp our program.

Table - Menu of member CE needs

Test & Evaluation
Marine Engineering Courses:
Basic Marine Engineering
Fuel Variations and Management
LNG as a Shipboard Fuel
Root Cause Analysis
Diesel Engine Analysis and Performance Optimization
Gas Turbine Analysis and Performance Optimization
Nuclear Propulsion
Electrical Propulsion
Prime-mover/Propulsor Matching
Shipboard Electrical System Analysis and Design Considerations
Shipboard HVAC Systems
Noise Transmission and Control
Corrosion in the Marine Environment
Corrosion Control
Engine Room Management
Ocean Engineering 1 & 2
Naval Architecture Courses
Basic Naval Architecture (for non-Naval Architects)
Naval Architecture for the Marine Professional
Basic Stability
Damage Stability
Ship Arrangements
Basics of Ship Dynamics
Practical Seakeeping (STANAG)
Motion effects on mission effectiveness
Basics of Ship Structures
Modern Coating Systems
Welding Technology Advancements
Shipyard Fabrication Techniques
Shipyard Environmental Controls
Classification Society Rules
Naval Architecture – Submarines
Sailboat Resistance and Propulsion
Powerboat Resistance and Propulsion
Sailboat Stability and Dynamics
Powerboat Stability and Dynamics
Ship Operations Economics
The Economics of Ship Operations
Capital Management in the Shipping Industry
The Role of the Ship Bunker Broker
Capital Risk Analysis in the Marine Industry
Cause and Mitigation of Parametric Rolling
Operation for Optimizing Fuel Consumption
Port and Terminal Operations
Cargo Security Management
Vessel and Company Security
Safety Officer
Security Officer
Intermodal Freight Transportation
Maritime Anti-Terrorism & Crisis Management
Principles of Chartering and Brokerage
English writing & composition
Public speaking and slidesmanship
The visual display of quantitative information
Interpersonal communication - how to disagree politely
Human Engineering
Human physiology for engineers
Human Factors & Safety Engineering
Limits of the human body
Limits of the human mind
Beauty & aesthetics
Ship Design & Integration
Engineering change proposals; waivers/deviations; drawing reviews/changes
Analysis of Alternatives, AHP, etc.
Risk Management
The Mathematics of Risk
IMO Formal Safety Assessment
Cost Estimating for Engineers
Vulnerability Assessment
Special Ship Types
Small Craft
Advanced Marine Vehicles
Naval Vessels
Offshore Platforms
Research Vessels
Sailing Craft
Planing Craft
Introduction to Unmanned Systems
Project Management
Project Planning & Management
Financial accounting and control
Team leadership
Team building using MBTI
Team building using KAI
Conflict resolution
Federal Acquisition Management
Strategic Scanning
Fundamentals of contract law
Fundamentals of Intellectual Property, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents
Lifelong Learning Skills
Knowledge Management
Methods for innovation
Job Hunting in NAME
Design Integration / Systems Engineering
Design Optimization
Whole-Ship Design projects
Ship Parametric Design Methods
Early Phase Ship Design
Total ship environmental impact

Lessons Learned from Current CE Program

SNAME has a CE program and this proposal attempts to build upon the successes of that program. The biggest change from the current program is twofold:

  • Courses are currently offered as a result of lecturer “push” rather than student “pull.”
  • Courses are currently only offered annually (at best.)

The crux of the present POA&M is to take the successes of the SNAME CE program and expand them so that course offerings are developed from a menu of “pull” and are offered in a range of formats to serve a range of immediacy needs.

Plan of Action

This POA&M has six components:

  • Monitoring and determining need to determine what courses to offer
  • Creating courses to fulfill the need
  • Types and styles of offerings
  • Discussion of Online Offerings
  • Discussion of the interface with University programs
  • Discussion of the role of Personal Professional Development Plans

Monitoring Need

The AM committee will provide ‘census’ data on paper attendance at each annual meeting. The CE coordinator will use that data to measure the degree of membership interest in various topics.

SNAME will also establish a tracking function on the SNAME webpage, to develop a list of terms most frequently searched for. This list will, similarly, constitute a measure of membership interest in various topics.

Finally, the CE Coordinator will pen a one-page regular feature in the Society’s mt monthly magazine, in which he will apprise the membership of CE discussions taking place, but more important to the present subject will include a web link for members to nominate topics of personal interest.

Note that unlike a University curriculum, I am not proposing that SNAME decide what the membership ought to be interested in. This is a market-driven model, not a pedagogical one.

Fulfilling Need

The foregoing paragraphs describe three vehicles for monitoring need, two of them being a posteriori by looking at history, and one of them a priori by soliciting suggestions. Once a year (probably in support of a fixed schedule of Executive Committee meetings) the CE Coordinator will compile the data from these sources and develop a CE Needs List. This list will include items of two types:

  • Items of CE need for which the Society already has course materials
  • Items of CE need for which the Society does not have course materials

The CE coordinator will develop a plan which uses the already-existing materials in so far as possible, and also includes a recruitment element to solicit members to create offerings for the new topics identified.

Note that, since many of the new topics will be identified by members having attended papers on the subject, this means that there is an obvious “incumbent” candidate to develop the material to CE length.


Offerings of the SNAME continuing education program may take several forms. Briefly, these may be distinguished by their length, embracing:

  • One-day short courses, offered at SNAME AM or similar “Symposia of opportunity.”
  • Half-Day offerings, which can be offered before or after the AM, but may also be interwoven within a symposium both to fill space and to balance the program
  • One hour offerings, which represent basically an on-demand reprise of papers of particular landmark interest.

Online Offerings

It is desirable to offer much of SNAME’s CE content online. Remember that one of the needs of members is for coursework “right now,” either as a professional refresher or to learn a new skill for an emergent task. Referring especially to the “professional refresher” model, it would be reasonable for a member to be able to go online and download a video of a course that he has previously paid for and taken in person. The challenge is to not make the free video version so attractive that it eliminates the paid in-person attendance. This can be accomplished by disincentivizing the video version, in several ways:

  • Video courses are not eligible for CE credit
  • More popular courses are not available on video – or not all hours of them
  • Video courses are not free – they require either paid completion of the in-person course, or the payment of the equivalent fee.

More discussion on how to manage this issue is needed, but the author of this POA&M is currently involved in developing online course content for the University of New Orleans, and the lessons learned from that exercise will be relevant to the SNAME work as well.

Interface with University Offerings

As mentioned earlier, the SNAME CE model is a market-driven model: “Give the people what they want.”

We want, however, to support the universities in our industry in a mutually beneficial way. Recall the opening reference to SNAME as a textbook publisher.

SNAME CE course material will be made available to universities for classroom use, for a specific fee. The fee will vary depending on the materials provided, such as course slides, course notes, bound course “books”, or course videos. The fee will be small for most materials – say $50 for static materials – in order to not create a barrier to purchase. For videos that markedly save a lecturer time, the fee may be higher, say $150.

SNAME CE courses may also serve as introductions to formal university programs of study. For example, a SNAME course on Project Management might motivate a member to take the corresponding university program, even up to an MBA. SNAME’s course then becomes the “bait” to a university program, and SNAME ought to encourage this sort of connectivity.

One means for this is to invite appropriate university lecturers to develop SNAME courses with this avenue explicitly in mind. Of course, the SNAME course will need to be useful in its own right and not merely a “teaser”, and it will need to be appropriately free of advertising. But there is a difference between saying “come to MY school” and “To learn more, consider enrolling in the MBA of your choice.” The latter message is entirely appropriate in a SNAME course, while the former is not.

Personal Professional Development Plans

The final element of this CE proposal is to provide, on the SNAME website, the ability for a member to develop a simple Personal Development Plan, and track his completion of coursework against that plan.

This need not be an elaborate system, and in fact should be something with a very small learning curve. In consideration of that I suggest something based on a spreadsheet, where members can select courses from a menu to populate their personal spreadsheet, and that via the centralized billing functions the website can automatically keep track of “attended this course on [date]” “downloaded course materials on [date]” and so forth.

We would like to marry that with a proactive “alert” function, so that if a member has indicated a desire for a certain course the website will automatically inform them that the course is coming up at such-and-such symposium or meeting.

The author of this POA&M is not qualified to design this proposed system, so I suggest instead a one day meeting with the SNAME website development team, to develop a detailed subsidiary POA&M for this component.

Financial Overview

At this time it is not possible to assemble a detailed financial overview, but the gist of the proposal is straightforward: This POA&M does not propose any radical restructuring of the existing system, merely a fine tuning of the aim. This suggests that there need not be any radical restructuring of the finances of the program either.

The elements to be costed out include the following:

  • Labor from SNAME HQ to assemble and deliver Annual Meeting paper attendance counts
  • Labor of CE Coordinator to analyze attendance counts and develop priorities for course offerings
  • Labor of CE coordinator to use the technical network to find lecturers for identified courses
  • Remuneration of lecturers, provisionally on the current basis of $1000 for first-time offerings, $500 for reprises.
  • Costs to video record courses
  • Costs to host videos and course materials for sale on the SNAME website

Summary of Benefits

The proposed CE Program builds upon the members’ first encounter with SNAME, as a publisher of teaching materials. SNAME is and should be the main repository of educational material for the industry. The Society holds a leadership position in textbooks, but should now grow that position in the wide field of continuing education.

This plan provides members with a coherent and coordinated catalog of SNAME CE offerings, and provides them with the means to influence those offerings both tacitly and explicitly.

This plan provides content providers – especially those already from the education community – with the incentive to develop short courses on topics of their expertise. Such presentations will be modestly remunerated explicitly, but they will also serve a valuable role in establishing professional expertise (e.g. for consultants) or in promoting follow-on university programs (for academics.)

This is a win/win plan that serves the Society, her members, and her content providers.

Respectfully submitted,

Chris McKesson

20 December 2012

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