June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.186.1 - 13.186.9
An Integrative Approach to Undergraduate and Graduate Change
This paper describes the efforts we undertook when faced with several strategic challenges and opportunities in strengthening our graduate and undergraduate programs. First, a Flex Advantage Plan (FAP) was developed to enhance our undergraduate engineering technology (ET) programs by better utilizing the inherent curricular flexibilities that were laying dormant. FAP provides distinction and uniqueness to program majors by presenting students with educational choices that add depth in a chosen discipline and/or another area of study.
A proposal to enhance our graduate program was subsequently prepared. A new Masters of Industrial Management (MIM) would be introduced as an interdisciplinary course-based program with a curriculum that spans three realms of study: technical, management and special topics. MIM is envisioned to complement the current project-based Masters program and enable its transition to a thesis-based track.
The need to improve the linkage between our undergraduate and graduate studies is also discussed. We intend to expand eligibility and increase awareness for undergraduate students as well as create more relevant alternatives for part-time graduate students. Such an integrated approach is expected to yield a sequence of enrollment increments as the proposed changes are implemented and publicized within our target market. This in turn should set the stage for the migration to a thesis-based Masters. The changes we have made or proposed create an array of educational pathways greater than the sum of their parts.
Introduction and Strategic Setting
The University of Hartford is predominantly an in-residence undergraduate institution. However, graduate programs are present in most of the University’s colleges and represent approximately one-fourth of all students. We are members of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA) that has a population of about 900 students of which 100 are enrolled in a Master’s program. Graduate enrollment in CETA is 11% of total students which is below the University average. In addition, specializations are offered in Civil, Environmental, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering which further dilutes the student body and CETA’s resources.
The University is conveniently located among a vibrant array of high technology companies. Full-time enrollment comes mostly in the form of international students. We speculate that our part-time enrollment is under-developed since the current Master’s program is a single track – project-based curriculum. This approach does not appeal to students desiring to perform a thesis nor those who prefer a course-based track.
Our projected recruiting environment is complicated by two emerging factors. First, students are increasingly aware of the need to broaden their skill base upon graduation and recognize the need to compete for employment on a global scale. Secondly, an in-state public high school drop in graduates of 9.4% is forecasted from 2008-16.1 This downward trend is mirrored on a national scale in which similar declines are predicted with no reversal until 2016.2 In addition, a higher
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