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Capturing Students For Manufacturing Engineering – Countering The Reverse Funnel Pipeline

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Our Future in Manufacturing

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Page Count


Page Numbers

13.276.1 - 13.276.10



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Paper Authors

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Danny Bee University of Wisconsin-Stout


Richard Rothaupt University of Wisconsin-Stout

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RICHARD ROTHAUPT is the Associate Dean of the College of Technology, Engineering and Management and a former Program Director for the B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering major at University of Wisconsin-Stout. He earned a B.S. in Industrial Education at University of Wisconsin-Stout, a Vocational Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and a Ph.D. in Vocational Education/Industrial Technology from Colorado State University, Fort Collins. Prior to joining the college administrative team, he instructed courses in computer aided manufacturing as well as the Capstone II system build course within the undergraduate manufacturing engineering major.

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Linards Stradins University of Wisconsin-Stout

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LINARDS STRADINS is an Associate Professor of Manufacturing Engineering since 1996 and the current program director for the B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering major at University of Wisconsin-Stout. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is ABD in his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently teaches courses in mechanics of materials, heat transfer, engineering design, fluid mechanics, and the Capstone I systems design. He has prior work experience in the automotive/truck industries and his Ph.D. research focuses on polymers research and computational mechanics.

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

Capturing Students for Manufacturing Engineering – Countering the Reverse Funnel Pipeline


This paper will discuss successful techniques for recruiting and retaining manufacturing engineering students and tested methods to debunk the myths and negative perceptions of manufacturing and engineering in the USA. Topics will include: improving the pool of students interested and capable of manufacturing and engineering study, using local media to your advantage, on-campus recruiting techniques, and ideas to improve student retention in engineering. Attention will be paid to methods that University of Wisconsin-Stout has found to be successful in selling the Manufacturing Engineering (ABET-EAC accredited) program to students, parents, and employers. The paper will invite all interested parties to participate in a national dialogue on capturing students for manufacturing engineering careers.

Undergraduate Manufacturing Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Stout

University of Wisconsin-Stout developed the Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering program during the early 1990s and subsequently began enrolling students into the program in 1994. The first graduating class was in December of 1996, due in part to the fact of early enrollment and advisement of existing and transfer students into courses aligned with the new curriculum prior to its “official” availability. The curriculum development process was intensively industry based and heavily relied upon the Curriculum 2000 project work of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

The curriculum is a general approach to manufacturing engineering and does not specifically target any one industry in the content. This general approach has allowed graduates of the program to work in any industry, as evidenced by the wide spectrum of manufacturing employers of the program graduates. Graduates of University of Wisconsin-Stout’s manufacturing engineering program can be found in the foods, military aircraft, automotive, plastics, special machine research, medical devices, foundry, building products, and consumer products industries. This “general engineering” approach utilizes many of the other engineering disciplines for instructional topics, i.e., mechanical, industrial, electrical, and materials science as well as a core curriculum in engineering management.

Another aspect of demonstrated success of UW-Stout’s manufacturing engineering program is the target market for its graduates. In the part of the state where the institution is located, most manufacturers are of the small to medium size. This requires students to have a broad spectrum of manufacturing knowledge, since these small manufacturers typically have a limited number of manufacturing engineering staff, and these manufacturing engineers are typically dealing with many different issues every day. This small to medium sized target market dictates a general approach to manufacturing engineering.

Bee, D., & Rothaupt, R., & Stradins, L. (2008, June), Capturing Students For Manufacturing Engineering – Countering The Reverse Funnel Pipeline Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4312

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