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A Leadership-Focused Engineering Management Master of Science Program

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

EM Program Design

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.3.1 - 22.3.17

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Paper Authors


Mary A. Viola School of Engineering, Tufts University

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Robert J. Hannemann
Director, Tufts Gordon Institute,
Professor of Practice.

Rob Hannemann is the Director of the Tufts Gordon Institute. In this role, he is responsible for the Engineering Management and Entrepreneurial Leadership programs, which serve more than 100 graduate students and 500 undergraduates annually. He is also Professor of the Practice in the Mechanical Engineering department. Dr. Hannemann earned advanced degrees in Mechanical Engineering from New York University (M.S. 1972) and MIT (Sc.D. '1975) after receiving his B.S. degree (with distinction) from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has extensive experience as an engineer, manager, and entrepreneur, and is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Director, Engineering Management Programs
Professor of the Practice.

Mary Adams Viola is currently the Director of Engineering Management at Tufts Gordon Institute. She designs and delivers innovative courses in leadership development, with an emphasis on innovation and working across cultures.
Prior to the Gordon Institute, Dr. Viola spent 20 years at Polaroid Corp. There, as Director of R&D, she was responsible for managing new technology platforms, requiring collaboration between other technology and manufacturing firms in Asia and the U.S.

Earlier, working with the Thomas Group, Inc. she was responsible for business process reengineering, which reduced the cycle time of the product development process in half and eliminated $80M of inventory from the supply chain.

From 1990 to 1996, Dr. Viola was a plant manager for worldwide reagent manufacturing and photo-systems integration at Polaroid. This included operations in Massachusetts, the Netherlands and Scotland. During her tenure, she led the organization to reduce 'bad pictures' tenfold and was able to significantly reduce costs by leveraging technology across the operations.
Prior to her role in manufacturing, Dr. Viola held numerous positions in R&D, which involved both internal technology development and technology transfer from Japan.

Dr. Viola studied chemical engineering and received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Tufts University.

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A Leadership-Focused Engineering Management Master of Science ProgramEngineers are currently underrepresented both as thought leaders and as actual leaders incorporations, government, and society at large. The complex, technology-rich problemswe face today – sustainable development, infrastructure deterioration, the re-industrialization of America’s economy, among others – will require innovativeengineers who understand the broader context in which they operate and the widerconsequences of the solutions they develop. This paper describes the basic philosophy,architecture, and pedagogy of a leadership-focused MSEM degree program at TuftsUniversity.The program has undergone continuous improvement since 1992, when the independentGordon Institute became part of Tufts. Differentiating features include a significant focuson imparting leadership knowledge and skills tailored to engineers in professionalpractice, a modular course architecture that allows for immediate application of thoseleadership skills, and an emphasis on experiential learning with real, open-ended projectsin technology-based organizations.The Tufts MSEM is a pragmatically oriented program primarily targeted at workingprofessionals. Coursework includes quantitative methods and decision-making; businessand technology strategy in an increasingly globalized world; operations, project andprogram management; business communications; and financial concepts. Thiscoursework, delivered by Professors of the Practice and lecturers from industry andgovernment, is bookended by leadership studies and training and team and individualproject leadership activities.The leadership curriculum begins with skills diagnostics and includes leadership indiverse environments, understanding of self and others, effective leadershipcommunications, and inspiring teams and organizations. An entire course is devoted toleadership and ethics as seen through the lens of classical and popular literature andcinema. In addition to classroom-based projects, students complete team consultingassignments for technology-based firms and individual leadership projects that take theplace of a traditional Master’s thesis.The paper includes student and industry demographics for the program and ongoingoutcomes assessment.

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