B.S. Manufacturing Engineering Program Review 2005-2006

Program Review: Planning and Review Committee 2005-2006

I.      Program Review:           B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering

Program Director:      Richard Rothaupt

PRC Consultants:        Jonna Gjevre and Don Platz

Date of Review:           February 28th 2006

Purpose of Review:        The review is being conducted to assess the quality of the B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering degree program as part of the seven-year review process at UW-Stout.

Committee Findings:      The committee recommends that the B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering program continue to be one of UW-Stout’s degree programs for the ongoing seven-year cycle and that recommendations made by the committee be implemented.

II.    Abstract:

The B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering program, established in 1994, prepares students for careers as pragmatic manufacturing engineers with small- and medium-sized manufacturers. In alignment with UW-Stout’s mission, the B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering program emphasizes a hands-on approach, effectively combining a strong background in engineering theory with considerable applied laboratory experience. The degree consists of 132 credits of general education and professional courses, with a curriculum that draws upon six distinct categories for its professional core, in alignment with national accrediting categories. The program benefits from the diverse and extensive industry experience of UW-Stout faculty. As part of the program’s commitment to continuous improvement, the B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering program has undergone two extensive program revisions since the last review, during 2004 and 2006 (ongoing). This program has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) since 1998.

III.   Process Followed for Current Review:

In the spring of 2005, the PRC Chair met with program director to discuss the review process. The PRC consultants also met with the program director in fall of 2005 to review procedures and offer assistance. Data regarding several aspects of the program were collected from students, key instructors within and outside the department, and program committee members. The data were analyzed and returned to the program director and PRC members. The program director then completed the self-study report, presented the report to the PRC and responded to questions. The PRC discussed the program director’s report and after feedback from members of the committee, the consultants developed this report. The program director was allowed to provide input on a draft of this report prior to its submission to the PRC.

IV.  Previous Review:   

The previous review of the B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering program was conducted by Bob Peters and Jana Reeg Steidinger during AY 1998-99. The PRC’s recommendations as well as responses from the program director are summarized below:

  1. Credit reduction and course overlap: at 137 credits, the program contained curriculum redundancies of concern to students and faculty. Through program revision in 2004, the degree requirements were reduced to 132 credits, and redundancies were addressed through changes to the curriculum.
  2. No assessment in the major had been filed with the Provost’s Office. The report was in fact on file, having been incorrectly cited as missing.
  3. The general education technology requirement was identified as redundant. This requirement continues to be a source of dissatisfaction among key instructors within the program as well as department personnel.  
  4. Extensive ABET review concerns: These were addressed in 2004 program revision and through efforts to achieve accreditation.

V.       Program Review:

A.   Program Strengths
  1. Hands-on learning—pragmatic, experiential approach
    (key instructors, students, program director, advisory board)
  2. Balanced curriculum design, consistent with ABET priorities
    (key instructors, program director, advisory board)
  3. Students develop strong teamwork, problem-solving, and analytical skills
    (key instructors, students, program director, advisory board)
  4. Enthusiastic and effective faculty with considerable industry expertise
    (key instructors, students, program director, advisory board)
  5. Job placement is exceptional
    (program director, advisory board)
  6. Rigorous ABET accreditation obtained, continuing from 1998 through 2007, and program shows strong commitment to self-assessment and improvement
    (key instructors, program director, advisory board)
  7. Library Learning Center provides favorable support for the program
    (program director)
  8. Laboratory facilities are generally viewed favorably
    (program director)
  9. Laboratory experience is integrated throughout the curriculum
    (key instructors, students, program director, advisory board)
  10. Strong leadership by program director and involvement by advisory board
    (program director, advisory board)
  11. Strong industry relationships and support, resulting in high program reputation, as well as capstone opportunities
    (program director)
2.   Areas of Concern
  1. Enrollment is stable, but recruitment of students is challenging.
    (program director, advisory board)
  2. Alternate semester scheduling creates difficulties and lack of flexibility for students who are out of sequence. There is a serious reduction in student cooperative learning experiences, due to this inflexible scheduling.
    (key instructors, students, program director, advisory board)
  3. Laboratory equipment and computer software: these requirements strain the program’s budgets
    (program director)
  4. Classrooms: some labs are considered inadequate to meet program needs
    (students, key instructors)
  5. Need to hire and retain additional faculty in a challenging market
    (program director, key instructors)
  6. Discomfort expressed with General Education Requirements
    (key instructors, students, program director, advisory board)

C.   Recommendations

Recommendations for the Program Director

  1. Work with department chairs to improve flexibility of course scheduling.
  2. Maintain commitment to recruiting quality students.
  3. Communicate effectively with students regarding scheduling conflicts, general education requirements, and the rigor of the program.
  4. Support departmental chairs in their commitment to hiring qualified faculty and staff.
  5. Communicate with dean regarding budgetary concerns, especially equipment and computer software requirements.
  6. Promote student internships as alternatives to co-ops.
  7. Continue to maintain strong industry relationships and support.
  8. Continue to maintain ABET accreditation.

Recommendations for the Chair of the Department of Engineering and Technology  

  1. Work with the program director to schedule courses sufficient to program needs.
  2. Continue to hire committed and qualified faculty and staff.
  3. Communicate effectively with program director and dean regarding equipment and laboratory needs, especially computer software requirements.
  4. Solicit faculty input regarding required lab materials, software and equipment, and work with IT to secure faculty input regarding software needs.

Recommendations for the Dean of the College of Technology, Engineering and Management

  1. Support department chairs in hiring qualified faculty and staff.
  2. Solicit faculty input regarding budgetary requirements, particularly computer software selections and laboratory needs.
  3. Provide sufficient resources for students to gain timely access to required science courses.
  4. Work with department chairs of physics and chemistry to ensure consistent and timely scheduling of required courses.