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An Industrial Engineering Design Experience Reflecting upon Moral Development and Wellbeing

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Industrial Engineering Division Tech Session 1: IE-ing a Broader Perspective

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering

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Paper Authors


Cristina D. Pomales-Garcia University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Cristina Pomales is Professor at the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM). She has a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (2001) and a Ph.D. in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan (2006). Her research areas of interest are the study of Work Systems Design in Agriculture, Human Factors, Occupational Safety Web-based learning and Engineering Education. She is an active collaborator and currently internal evaluator and assessment coordinator for multiple grants from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education, including the UPRM Nanotechnology Center and the Transformational Initiative for Graduate Education and Research at UPRM .

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Christopher Papadopoulos University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus

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Christopher Papadopoulos is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Materials at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (UPRM). He earned B.S. degrees in Civil Engineering and Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University (1993) and a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at Cornell University (1999). Prior to coming to UPRM, Papadopoulos served on the faculty in the department of civil engineering and mechanics at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Papadopoulos has diverse research and teaching interests in Structural Mechanics, Appropriate technology, Engineering Ethics, and Mechanics Education. He is a PI on the NSF-sponsored project Full-culm Bamboo as a Full-fledged Engineering Material and is developing community bamboo projects in Puerto Rico and Haiti. He is also co-author of the book Lying by Approximation: The Truth about Finite Element Analysis and served as the Chair of the ASEE Mechanics Division in 2015-16.

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Typical design projects in the Industrial Engineering (IE) curriculum use a systematic process improvement methodology to solve problems for the manufacturing or service industries, where students have an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through coursework in a real-world environment. While these projects are often assessed in terms of technical efficiency and course outcomes, less often do they assess experiential dimensions, such as the students’ reflections on the process, their engagement with the people involved (i.e. workers, users, affected communities), or their commitment towards ethical values and social responsibility. This work describes the reflections about a non-traditional junior year design experience, for a group of 45 industrial engineering students who worked in 13 teams, and completed a set of self-reflection discussion questions as part of the post-project experience evaluation. A participatory design experience in local coffee farms provided a novel and positive experience, helping students to better understand the IE profession and its scope. Content analysis framework was used to: summarize the students’ responses into trends and common ideas, quantify the impact of the experience, and uncover common themes across student responses. Findings show that the experience was novel for students, they envisioned how Industrial Engineers (IEs) can influence society and well-being, and that the project positively impacted their skills, knowledge, as well as their personal and professional development. The reflections show that 49% of students believed that the proposed recommendations in their project impact well-being, and more than 30% perceived that IEs could influence society and well-being through creating safer working environments. Findings show strong evidence that the experience helped students gain a better understanding of ergonomic-related applications within the IE field. Students perceived that the project helped them refine or develop teamwork, communication, critical thinking and interpersonal skills, as well as intuition, empathy, commitment, and leadership. Results also show students’ engagement at three different levels of moral development, including value realization, prevention and integration, as well as insights from a perspective of capabilities approach and social well-being with an emphasis on bodily health. Rubrics for project proposal, final written report and poster are included as part of the documentation for the project evaluation.

Pomales-Garcia, C. D., & Papadopoulos, C. (2017, June), An Industrial Engineering Design Experience Reflecting upon Moral Development and Wellbeing Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27566

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