June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
7.97.1 - 7.97.8
A Qualitative Measurement Method for an Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Program
Debra M. Ricci, Ph.D.; Eugene J. Audette, Ph.D.; and Ronald J. Bennett, Ph.D.
The University of St. Thomas
The faculty of a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) program in the College of Arts and Sciences at a private university wished to know how two groups of stakeholders, current students and the parents of current students, perceived the program. Program administrators and staff could use these sources of information to gain qualitative data as it prepared for accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (EAC of ABET) in 2000 and for its Baldrige Quality Award application in 2002. For two consecutive years, parents of current BSME students were invited to a day-long campus visit in April into which activities to gather impressions via a two-step focus group were imbedded. Data collected over two years was analyzed for results in accordance with the department Continuous Improvement Plan. Results confirmed positive aspects of the program and provided important feedback for improvement. Actions taken on results include EAC of ABET accreditation for the BSME program and the launching of a BSEE program. This qualitative approach supplements quantitative measurements and serves as an excellent relationship-building approach with important program stakeholders.
Introduction and Rationale
Faculty members of a private, midwestern university serving 250 engineering graduate students and 180 engineering undergraduates wished to know how two groups of undergraduate program stakeholders—current students and the parents of current students—perceived the program. As part of its Continuous Improvement Process (see Appendix A), the program had chosen a combination of quantitative and qualitative assessment methods to monitor progress toward improvement goals. Qualitative assessment approaches would complement other methods such as a Senior Self-assessment Survey of Program Educational Objectives and Outcomes, the FE Exam, and Instructor/Course Evaluations by soliciting important, unquantifiable feedback. The program administrators and staff could use these sources of information as it prepared for accreditation by the Engineering Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (EAC of ABET) in 2000 and for its Baldrige Quality Award application in 2002.
In the fall of 1999, the engineering program director secured a consultant from the university’s Department of Organization Learning and Development to design and conduct a measurement method in collaboration with the department chair and administrative staff. Together they designed a qualitative assessment approach to gather impressions from a self-selected group of
Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright American Society for Engineering Education
Bennett, R., & Audette, E., & Ricci, D. (2002, June), A Qualitative Measurement Method For An Undergraduate Mechnical Engineering Program Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11042
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