Preparing Students for Successful Careers

Dr. Jay Goldberg and the MU-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering Address Often Overlooked Aspects of Undergraduate Career Prep Curricula

November 30, 2021

In remaining true to the Jesuit educational priority of preparing students to be leaders in their fields, the Marquette University and Medical College of Wisconsin Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering has taken on the challenge of preparing students for careers involving the design of medical devices by creating a dynamic academic experience that addresses specific often-overlooked aspects of professional practice, integrating unique opportunities for working directly with medical professionals and in interdisciplinary teams.  Now, with a new course targeting the needs identification aspect of the design process, the career-prep repertoire of the Marquette-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering undergraduate design curriculum is uniquely positioned to prepare students for success in the field of biomedical engineering.

Central to the success of the undergraduate design program in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering is Dr. Jay Goldberg, an industry alumnus with an array of unique qualifications that he has used to help prepare students at Marquette University for career opportunities for over 22 years. Wielding 14 years’ experience in medical device design, working for such companies as DePuy, Baxter, Surgitek and Milestone Scientific, and earning six patents for urological medical devices, Dr. Goldberg’s unique perspective proves an immeasurable asset to the department, and his innovative approaches to teaching students about working in interdisciplinary teams, design for manufacturability and needs identification have become hallmarks of the MU-MCW BME student design curriculum.


Working in Interdisciplinary Teams

After reflecting on the value of cross-functional teams in the workplace and understanding the importance of working with individuals from different disciplines, Dr. Goldberg launched a collaborative enterprise with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD).  Now in its 15th year, the collaboration with MIAD offers engineering design students the opportunity to work with industrial design students on their capstone design projects.  Students participating in the Marquette-MIAD collaboration learn about the importance of understanding the ways different disciplines approach problem-solving and design.  Where Industrial Design students might emphasize ease of use, aesthetics, and the customer experience, Engineering students might focus on functional requirements, testing, and other technical aspects of a design. Ultimately, students from both institutions are afforded insight into the integration of form and function and focus on meeting the needs of the customer or user, elevating final designs, and contributing to a truly dynamic educational experience.  This collaboration is ongoing, and approximately one-third to one-half of Marquette engineering students collaborate with industrial design students from MIAD each year.


Design for Manufacturability

Design for Manufacturability is a component of the design process that is commonly overlooked in undergraduate biomedical engineering education.  Early career engineers design predominantly for the end user and are often unfamiliar with or unaware of the needs of an often-forgotten customer, the production assembler, who may be concerned with factors such as assembly time, waste, and repetitive motion injuries.  As many engineers working in design and new product development will have never worked in a production environment, the best-prepared early career engineers will be made aware of the importance of design for manufacturability during their undergraduate education. 

Remaining aware of the time-constraints inherent in the 4-year undergraduate education, Dr. Goldberg integrated a student-centered design-for-manufacturability module into the Senior Capstone Design Course that addresses these exact concerns.  In this module, students are presented with incomplete work instructions for the assembly of a product.  Students assemble the product during an in-class simulated assembly line and are subsequently asked to recommend potential improvements to work instructions, production tools and processes, and product design.  After reflecting on their experiences, students implement their suggested changes and repeat the assembly line simulation exercise. This module makes students aware of the impact of product design on the assembly process and production costs. 

First introduced in 2012, the module has been expanded and remains a unique component of the Capstone Design program for undergraduates seeking a degree in Biomedical Engineering at Marquette and the Medical College of Wisconsin.


Needs Identification

In response to the time constraints mentioned above, many capstone design course instructors identify design opportunities and solicit project ideas on behalf of their students. They do not provide opportunities for students to identify the unmet needs that can be the focus of their capstone projects. This practice prevents students from experiencing this initial phase of the design process, a phase that engineers working in industry are often involved in.

To provide students with needs-finding opportunities, Dr. Goldberg created a one-credit elective needs finding course that launched at Marquette University in 2008. In response to student feedback, and taking advantage of the unique assets afforded by the Joint Department, such as access to clinicians and hospital settings, Dr. Goldberg has recently expanded the original needs finding course to a three-credit course that is required for students seeking a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering at MU-MCW. Launched in Fall 2021, this new course gives students the opportunity to observe how technology is used  in the clinical and surgical environments, learn about professional conduct in the clinical environment, and acquire the language necessary to communicate with various clinical personnel, such as nurses and physicians.  Students learn how to understand clinical problems, identify unmet needs and opportunities for innovative new products, and create value for a customer, making them even more valuable to their future employers. 


About Dr. Jay Goldberg

Headshot of Dr. Jay GoldbergPrior to joining Marquette University, Dr. Goldberg spent 14 years working in new product development for medical device companies such as DePuy, Baxter, Surgitek and Milestone Scientific, specializing in orthopedic, urological, and dental devices. He spent 9 years in engineering management roles.

After receiving his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1998, where he conducted research in biomaterials, Dr. Goldberg turned his attention to educating others. Since joining the faculty at Marquette, Dr. Goldberg served as director of the Healthcare Technologies Management program until 2020 and focused on preparing students for careers in biomedical engineering. In 2012, he was awarded the Engineering Education Excellence award from the National Society of Professional Engineers for relating engineering education to professional practice. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the Biomedical Engineering Society.


Learn more about Dr. Goldberg