Systems Engineering Faculty Infuses Decades of Industry Experience into Courses

Umesh Ketkar traded a rewarding career in the space industry for a dream job, teaching engineers at the Loyola Marymount University Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering.

Ketkar, visiting assistant professor in systems engineering, was immediately impressed by the high-caliber students and what he saw to be endless possibilities for course innovation. He describes “the LMU environment as one of inquiry. It’s a collegial, collaborative community that promotes learning and education.”

Ketkar draws from his 35-year career in space systems design, systems engineering, program management, and technology development, to teach an assortment of engineering classes. His current course offerings include systems engineering, engineering economics, project management, and lean engineering.

Ketkar shares his industry-honed skillset in designing space satellites with LMU engineering students both in and outside of the classroom. In the project-based course “Spacecraft Design,” students work in teams to design and present a spacecraft. Ketkar is also faculty advisor for the university CubeSats project. Students involved in CubeSats have the opportunity to design, build, test and operate compact space crafts, working with NASA to secure space launches.

Ketkar values the small class sizes at the graduate level, which allows him “to do more than just broadcast to an audience.” He believes that teaching students who are working in industry “helps him to learn more and to gain deeper knowledge in my field.” He appreciates the cross-field connections students bring to their coursework, values their feedback, and strives to adjust the coursework based on student needs.

Ketkar loves to travel with his wife and their two daughters, ages 11 and 14. Recent journeys have included Costa Rica and South Africa. This summer, they will visit New York City so the theater-loving girls can experience Broadway firsthand.