Industrial Engineering

Curriculum Research Project Meeting

- Dec 2002

Clemson IE faculty, led by chair Mike Leonard, have reached a major milestone in a project funded by the National Science Foundation for department-level reform of undergraduate industrial engineering education. In a meeting at the Madren Center last week the project team reported progress to their team of expert advisors, who also provided some guidance on future project activities. The grant is one of approximately 35 awarded in the United States. This program is aimed at developing means of reforming undergraduate education in significant ways, focused on reform within academic disciplines. The planning grant is intended for development of a planning process for reform, and can lead to a substantially larger project involving actual reform initiatives.

The proposal for the grant, developed by Leonard and IE faculty members Anand Gramopadhye, Del Kimbler and Mary Beth Kurz, is titled "A New Paradigm for Engineering Curriculum Renewal". It builds on curriculum reform efforts of the faculty at Clemson as well as their experience in Engineering Criteria 2000, the re-designed criteria for engineering accreditation being implemented around the country by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). In addition to advising the College of Engineering and Science in its most recent engineering accreditation review, Leonard is recognized nationally as a leader in curriculum reform both within the industrial engineering academic community as well as in other disciplines. He is presently a representative member of the Board of Directors of ABET, and has served as a program evaluator for ABET and as a member of the Engineering Accreditation Commission. Kimbler also serves as an program evaluator for ABET, and has been involved in planning for four department-level accreditation reviews. Gramopadhye's role in the project is primarily in uses of advanced technology in education; this is based on his work as director of the Advanced Technology Systems Laboratory, and is an excellent example of the use of learning through research to improve educational systems. Kurz, in her second year at Clemson, brings new perspectives of youth and a unique systems engineering education to the project.

The planning process is advised by a small team of experts in industrial engineering education, notably Dr. Thom Hodgson, James T. Ryan professor of industrial engineering at North Carolina State University and a member of the National Academy of Engineers. Dr. Leon McGinnis, who holds the Gwaltney chair of manufacturing systems and is professor of industrial and systems engineering at Georgia Tech, represents the Institute of Industrial Engineers Council of Fellows; Dr. Dan Hodge, executive director of ABET, and Dr. Bevlee A. Watford, associate dean of engineering at Virginia Tech bring their expertise in engineering education to the project. Dr. Nancy J. Currie rounds out the expert team with her background in biological systems and advanced technologies. Dr. Currie, a veteran of four shuttle missions, is an Astronaut Mission Specialist at NASA. She is presently serving as an Instructor Astronaut as well as manager of the Habitability and Human Factors Office of the Life Sciences Directorate of NASA.

The project will lay the groundwork for what could lead to a new definition of industrial engineering curricula at the baccalaureate level. It will also provide a streamlined roadmap for academic departments in any engineering specialty to undertake major reform of their programs without the need for time-consuming development and validation of new program reform planning processes. The grant not only initiates a new and meaningful research project at Clemson, but also recognizes the high quality of education in industrial engineering there as well as the outstanding achievements of the faculty.

Expert advisors on campus for the project meeting.

From left are (back row) Dr. Bevlee A. Watford, Virginia Tech; Mr. Bill Sutherlin, Milliken & Company; Dr. Dan Hodge, ABET; (front row) Dr. Leon McGinnis, Georgia Tech; Dr. Nancy Currie, NASA; Dr. Thom Hodgson, North Carolina State University


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