June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.276.1 - 13.276.10
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.
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