That’s the argument made by Robert Atkinson of the Information & Technology Innovation Fund in the New England Journal of Higher Education:
[These] universities would do several things. First, they would revamp their engineering programs much more around manufacturing engineering and, in particular, work that is more relevant to industry. This would include more joint industry-university research projects; more training of students that incorporates manufacturing experiences through co-ops or other programs; and a Ph.D. education program focused on turning out more Ph.D. engineering grads who would work in industry. These universities would view Ph.D.s as akin to high-level apprenticeships (as they often are in Germany), where one can’t get a Ph.D. unless one has done some work in industry. Likewise, criteria for faculty tenure would consider professors’ work with and/or in industry as much as their number of publications. In addition, their business schools would focus on manufacturing issues, including management of production, and integrate closely with engineering.
An interesting proposal. You can read the full post here.