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A University's Approach To Teaching A Freshman Level Introductory Course In Industrial Engineering

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Best Practices in IE Education

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.137.1 - 14.137.13



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Paper Authors


Matthew Elam Texas A&M University, Commerce

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Matthew E. Elam, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Technology at Texas A&M University-Commerce. He has taught courses, authored publications, performed funded research, and consulted with industry in several statistics related areas, engineering education, mathematics, and other subject areas. He has presented his research and served as session chairs at conferences. He has served as a reviewer for several journals and conference proceedings, and on the editorial board of one journal. He is a member of the ASEE and is an American Society for Quality Certified Quality Engineer.

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E. Delbert Horton Texas A&M University, Commerce

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E.DELBERT HORTON, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering. Dr. Horton teaches a variety of engineering courses, including: Industrial Operations Research courses, Industrial Capstone System Design, and a Project Management course. He has over 38 years experience in academia and in product development and manufacturing, and intelligence systems development and integration for U.S. Government agencies. His experience includes various engineering development and management, and consulting roles at Electrospace Systems, E-Systems, Raytheon Systems and Stephen Meyers & Associates. He is a member of ASEE, Institute of Industrial Engineers and senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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Sukwon Kim Texas A&M University, Commerce

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Sukwon Kim is an assistant professor of Industrial Engineering in the department of Industrial Engineering and Technology at Texas A&M University-Commerce. He has taught various courses in Industrial Engineering program and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in Ergonomics and Biomechanics Journals. He is a subject matter expert in Human Factors and Ergonomics. He is a member of the HFES, ISOES, and IIE.

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Bob Wilkins Texas A&M University, Commerce

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Bob Wilkins is an instructor in the Department of Applied Sciences at Texas A&M University – Commerce. He currently teaches online courses in Corporate Communications and Global Technology and its impact on Society. He has also taught courses involving the use of Solid Works, Product Design, Basic Electronics and Programmable Automation. He has conducted research in the areas of CIM cells, Rapid Prototyping, 3D Digitizing (Reverse Engineering) and Programmable Logic Controllers. He has authored and/or co-authored several publications. Prior to his academic experience he was employed at Texas Instruments for 33 years with a background in Semiconductor manufacturing.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A University's Approach to Teach a Freshman-Level Introductory Course in Industrial Engineering


An increased emphasis on the development and implementation of freshman-level introductory engineering courses and programs at colleges and universities has occurred in recent years. This is, in part, a response to the increasing shortage of engineering graduates in the United States. These courses and programs are meant to recruit students into engineering and prepare them to successfully study engineering. In many cases, non-standard curricula emphasizing team-based projects are used, and many variations on these themes exist. This paper presents the approach taken by the authors to teach their university's freshman-level introductory course for Industrial Engineering majors. First, published information on and results from freshman engineering courses and programs at various colleges and universities are documented. Then, the approach the authors' university has taken in the past to teach its freshman-level introductory course in Industrial Engineering is presented. This is followed by the motivation for and description of the course's new curriculum, a comparison of student evaluations before and after the curriculum change, and a discussion of future changes for the course's curriculum.


As the 21st century begins, the demand for an abundant and talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce remains strong. Continued growth in national productivity requires a continuous supply of professionals who are highly competent in the STEM disciplines and who are adaptable to the needs of a rapidly changing profession.1 From 2000-2010, employment opportunities in the United States requiring STEM expertise are expected to increase about three times faster than the rate for all other occupations. However, the available domestic STEM labor supply has not and will not be able to satisfy this growth because of the long-term trend of fewer students entering STEM programs in college, thus threatening the ability of U.S. businesses to compete in the global marketplace. The situation is so dire that the National Science Board has stated that the federal government and its agencies must step forward to ensure the adequacy of the U.S. STEM workforce, and that all stakeholders must mobilize and initiate efforts that increase the number of U.S. citizens pursuing STEM studies and careers.2

In response to this, many efforts have been established to recruit students into the engineering portion of STEM and to prepare students to successfully study engineering. These efforts have included the development and implementation of freshman-level introductory engineering courses and programs at colleges and universities. The freshman year is very critical for engineering students. Less than half of the students who start in engineering as freshmen eventually obtain an undergraduate degree in engineering.3 An important factor in this retention issue is mathematics ability as measured by SAT and ACT mathematics scores, mathematics placement tests, and high school mathematics background.3,4,5,6

Elam, M., & Horton, E. D., & Kim, S., & Wilkins, B. (2009, June), A University's Approach To Teaching A Freshman Level Introductory Course In Industrial Engineering Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4500

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015