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Converting a Traditional Engineering Technology Program to a Competency-based, Self-paced, Open-entry/Open-exit Format

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Utilizing Digital Technologies in Classroom and Distance Learning in ET Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.408.1 - 26.408.17



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Paper Authors


Eric A. Roe Polk State College

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Dr. Eric A. Roe has extensive experience in creating high-performance, high profile programs, and collaborative partnerships to make workforce education and training relevant for employers and the economy through systemic reforms which align competencies with talent development pathways.

He is currently the Executive Director of the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Center for Lifelong Engineering Education (CLEE) at the University of Texas at Austin and the P.I. of the NSF ATE funded Engineering Technology Open-Entry / Open-Exit project at Polk State College.

At CLEE, Dr. Roe is responsible for the college’s professional engineering master’s degree programs, engineering professional development, conferences, and customized corporate training. At Polk State Dr. Roe was the Director of Applied Technology and founder of the Manufacturing Talent Development Institute. In these roles he oversaw the shift from a traditional program to a competency-based Open-Entry / Open-Exit Engineering Technology AS degree, served the state through the ManufacturingTDI statewide resource center bridging industry and talent development systems, and served as Co-Principal Investigator and director of three TAACCCT grants to strengthen Engineering Technology and Advanced Manufacturing training and education programs.

All of these initiatives have created a unified educational system in Florida that provides the curriculum, educational articulation pathways, and certifications needed to deliver required workplace competencies for modern manufacturing.

Dr. Roe held various positions in manufacturing research, technical services, and engineering before joining the education sector to become a founding director of FLATE, the Florida Advanced technological Education Center and shifted his focus to creating a skilled and educated STEM workforce.

Dr. Roe earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida, where he developed an alternative feedmill process for citrus processing. In his professional career, he has worked in 3 areas of vital importance to Florida – Manufacturing, Citrus, and Education. He has served as keynote speaker and technical lecturer at regional, national, and international conferences in economic and workforce development, education, and engineering.

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Terry Bartelt

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Engineering Technology / Advanced Manufacturing Program Reform: Modular, Self-Paced, Competency-based, Faculty- Mentored, and Open-Entry / Open-ExitAbstractPolk State College is in the process of utilizing NSF-ATE funding for the “Open Entry/OpenExit Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology Project” (OEOE) to transition atraditional Engineering Technology Associate of Science degree program to a hybridcompetency-based, modular, OEOE, non-term, self-paced, learner-centered, faculty-mentoredformat. The program serves to educate two-year college and support secondary students inengineering technology related programs, creating career pathways into the high-performancefield of advanced manufacturing. Polk State’s OEOE Engineering Technology program isdeveloping, adapting, and implementing:  educational reform - transitioning a traditional AS degree in Engineering Technology to an open entry / open exit competency-based, modular, open-lab, degree program;  professional development – technical skills professional development for the college and secondary program faculty and pedagogical professional development for the college staff and faculty on competency-based program development and delivery; and  outreach programs – increased collaboration with secondary feeder programs in the college’s service area, disruptive innovation applied to advisory council collaboration, and greater engagement with industry.The project is a direct response to industry needs and represents a strong partnership between thecollege, employers, secondary and four-year academic institutions, and regional and stateworkforce investment entities in Mid-Florida.The flexible modular format is based on the Fox Valley Technical College model but adaptedand enhanced to include best practices from competency-based programs (ie. Western GovernorsUniversity) to implement a true OEOE registration process, and work within the Florida CollegeSystem. This impacts technological education by: implementing a competency-based, self-paced,open-lab, modular (1 credit hour), faculty-mentored, non-term, OEOE program that is accessibleto working learners and is learner-centered rather than faculty-centered; building a collaborativerelationship between the secondary system and the college that embeds certification-basedarticulation resources and pathways into the program; and providing pathways to baccalaureatedegrees.This paper will present a progress update on this project with lessons learned, student feedback,and a discussion of the enablers and barriers experienced during implementation.

Roe, E. A., & Bartelt, T. (2015, June), Converting a Traditional Engineering Technology Program to a Competency-based, Self-paced, Open-entry/Open-exit Format Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23747

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