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AAS Controls Technology Stackable Degree Education Requirements for Employees by Highly Automated Manufacturing Companies Drives a Collaborative Pathway at Weber State University

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

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Julanne K. McCulley Weber State University

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Julanne K. McCulley possesses a master's in engineering from Arizona State University and a bachelor's of science degree in electronics engineering technology and a bachelor's of science degree in mathematics teaching from Weber State University. McCulley is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Electronics Engineering Technology program in the Engineering Technology Department for the College of Applied Science and Technology at Weber State University. She is the Faculty Advisor for the Weber State University Section of the Society of Women Engineers and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). McCulley is a board member of the CAPA and SPARKS National Science Foundation project with five years of service. She has more than 20 years' experience working in industry as a project engineer specializing in automation and controls engineering.

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Title AAS Controls Technology Stackable Degree Education Requirements for Employees by Highly Automated Manufacturing Companies Drives a Collaborative Pathway

Abstract Highly automated manufacturing facilities in northern Utah are placing requirements on maintenance personnel to obtain associate degrees in Controls or Automation Engineering Technology that enhance their existing training and skills to be considered for advancement in automation technology positions. A demand to fill these technical positions has led local companies to hire engineers and technicians outside the community and out-of-state to find applicants that possess required qualifications. This resulted in little success in retention and became costly and frustrating. In January 2016, a summit was organized by local industry to discuss the option of developing an educational pathway within the community that prepares employees for automation technician positions. To be considered for the automation technician position, an associates of applied science degree is being made mandatory due to the complexities of the automated manufacturing environment. An emphasis was stressed by industry on the importance of investing in their employees to assist them with educational needs and support their advancement. Over the next year, a strong collaboration with industry partners, the local Applied Technology Colleges (ATC), and Weber State University (WSU) led to the development of an educational pathway resulting in a stackable Associates of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Controls Technology.

The Engineering Technology Department provided a solution for our industry partners by implementing a collaborative pathway in conjunction with the local Applied Technical Colleges. The purpose of the pathway is to assist maintenance personnel working in industry with a seamless technical education that will allow them to progress within their company. The AAS Controls Technology (AAS CT) degree is a two-year stackable degree that builds on the 900+ hour Industrial Automation Technician (IAT) certification from one of the three local ATCs. It is a 69-credit hour degree that includes a block of 25 credit hours for the completion of the 900 IAT certification. Maintenance technicians are typically required to obtain the IAT certification to provide an introduction into basic industrial technologies including safety, electrical, pneumatics, hydraulics, machining, programmable logic controllers, robotics and troubleshooting. The AAS CT degree is a blend of Electronics Engineering Technology and Manufacturing Engineering Technology courses supplemented with science, math and general education requirements, yielding a solid theoretical foundation supported with applied learning. Together, with industrial experience, the IAT certification and the AAS CT degree produce a knowledgeable, skilled employee capable of constructing, programming, maintaining, troubleshooting and supporting equipment in the highly automated industrial environment.

Pedagogy: Concrete active learning leading to abstract active learning. Outcomes: Students will gain an ability to build, analyze,troubleshoot, test, maintain and implement electromechanical control systems. Assessment: Course exams, course projects, industry evaluations of student employees.

McCulley, J. K. (2018, June), AAS Controls Technology Stackable Degree Education Requirements for Employees by Highly Automated Manufacturing Companies Drives a Collaborative Pathway at Weber State University Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29745

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