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Asem Establishes Standards For Ms Programs In Engineering Management, Establishes Certification Program

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

EM Program Trend and Development

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.232.1 - 11.232.8



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Paper Authors


Jerry Westbrook University of Alabama-Huntsville

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Dr. Westbrook is Emeritus Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Executive Director of the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM). He is a past president and fellow of ASEM. Dr. Westbrook served in several administrative and academic positions at the University of Tennessee. He is a member of ASEE, IIE and NSPE.

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

ASEM Establishes Standards for MS Programs in Engineering Management Through Its Master’s Program Certification

Abstract The American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) studied masters programs in engineering management. They found over one hundred such programs and the numbers are growing. It was also found that there are significant differences among and little commonality in those programs. With this information, ASEM has moved to provide a standard framework for this degree for guidance to new and existing programs with a flexible template to guide program development and change. ASEM also created a certification plan so that programs that meet the established standards can be identified to students and employers as having met a national benchmark.

Background For the past twenty seven years, the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) has been promoting and defining the discipline of engineering management. ASEM membership is comprised of representatives from academia, government and industry. Although there are some notable undergraduate programs and several doctoral programs in existence, most EM programs are masters programs. Farr and Bowman1 (1999) identified over one hundred master’s programs in engineering management. As the number of programs continues to grow, so does the enrollment in those programs. Even with growth, engineering management, as a discipline, is relatively unknown in the academic community. There is little agreement on the content of engineering management programs. Hicks et. al.2 (1999) found three different curricular groups in existing engineering management master’s programs. These curricular types are described below.

Program Administration Further examination revealed two dominant forms of program administration. The appeal of Engineering Management (EM) is that it has the potential of generating revenue without the commitment of scarce university resources, particularly faculty. Thus, EM can become an academic cash cow that builds university good will and generates needed financial returns.

Other universities take an entirely different approach. Engineering Management is viewed as an important academic discipline with knowledgeable faculty members who are doing a significant amount of sponsored research and contributing to engineering journals. These universities are concerned about the approach described above and feel that it is a threat to the discipline. The universities that are taking a more serious approach to EM think that EM growth in knowledge parallels the growth of technology. They further feel that expansion of the EM knowledge base is necessary to manage expanding technology. Yet, even these universities do not have a unified view of EM and their academic programs have significant differences.

The Three Faces of Engineering Management The Hicks et. al.2 (1999) study classified EM masters programs into three curricular groups. One group focused on classical management concepts- planning, marketing, accounting, etc. The second group focused on mathematical concepts- operations research, probabilistic models, linear

Westbrook, J. (2006, June), Asem Establishes Standards For Ms Programs In Engineering Management, Establishes Certification Program Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--20

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