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Curriculum Innovation in Industrial Engineering: Developing a New Degree Program

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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

Industrial Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.436.1 - 26.436.10



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Paper Authors


Mary J. Meixell Quinnipiac University

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Mary J. Meixell is an Associate Professor of Management and Industrial Engineering at Quinnipiac University in Hamden Connecticut, where she teaches courses in operations analysis and supply chain management. She earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering at Penn State University, an M.S. in Transportation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at Lehigh University. Her areas of expertise are in production and logistics operations analysis and supply chain management. Dr. Meixell has extensive industry background in logistics management, production planning, supplier management and supply chain design in the automotive and telecommunications industries. Dr. Meixell’s current research interests include sustainable supply chain management, performance implications of outsourcing, and curriculum development in undergraduate programs.

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Nebil Buyurgan Quinnipiac University

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Nebil Buyurgan, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Industrial Engineering Program at Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining QU, he served as Associate and Assistant Professor in the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arkansas. He received his doctorate in engineering management, from the University of Missouri-Rolla. As the author or coauthor of over 100 technical papers, his research interests include supply chain management, humanitarian and healthcare logistics, healthcare/medical informatics, and data standards. He has directed several projects funded by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Research Lab, and Wal-Mart Stores.

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Corey Kiassat Quinnipiac University

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Dr. Corey Kiassat is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering at Quinnipiac University and has a BASc and a PhD degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto. He has an MBA, majoring in Marketing and International Business, from York University. Corey is a Professional Engineer and has 11 years of industry experience in manufacturing engineering and operations management with General Motors in USA and Canada. He has also been involved with a start-up company in personalized preventive healthcare. Corey’s research focus is on the role of people on performance of systems. His general research interests include process optimization, human reliability, distraction and human error, and failure risk analysis.

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Curriculum Innovation in Industrial Engineering: Development of a New Degree ProgramCurriculum development and innovation is critical to successful programs in engineering. At amedium-sized private university in the northeast United States, a new industrial engineering (IE)program has recently been developed and is currently being rolled out. As a new IE program, thedevelopment of this new program has been innovative as it is strategically designed to be well-balanced between engineering and other university programs, using the guidelines of NCEESfundamentals exam, as well the requirements for regional employment opportunities. Theresulting program curriculum is thus both flexible and relevant. The flexibility allows the pursuitof a variety of minor degrees, study-abroad opportunities, as well as fast track bachelor's/master'sdegree programs, where a student can receive a bachelor’s degree in IE and an MBA in less thanthe traditional 6 years. In addition, the curriculum is relevant as it allows for emphasis areas,aligned with regional employers’ needs, maximizing employability in the student’s preferredindustry. In this paper, we describe the multi-year process followed for development of the newprogram using the product development literature. In this view, educated employment-readystudents are the product, and curriculum is the process by which they are transformed intoindustrial engineers. Customer requirements are the employer needs in this model, and thetechnical attributes are the learning outcomes for the program as developed through theobjectives of individual course in the program.We also draw from the scholarly education literature as an aid in framing the process from acomprehensive sociocultural viewpoint. From this perspective, context and influences are keydrivers in the curriculum development process. Context can be viewed at the university level,and includes the mission of the university, the resources available, and the targeted size of theprogram. Influences may be internal within the program, and include expertise areas of thefaculty and related engineering and other university programs that serve as opportunity areas forcoordination. External influences certainly include accrediting bodies and licensingorganizations; in this case, both ABET and NCEES helped us define the content of our IEprogram. An important influence, especially in building the student learner population, has beenthe challenge of working in a regional environment where there is little knowledge of theindustrial engineering career path. The regional employer base also played and continues toinfluence program development, as both the IE core and the technical electives are structured tobe responsive to employer needs. In the northeast US where our university is located, the mostcommon employers are hospital networks, financial and insurance companies, along with themore traditional small and mid-size manufacturers. Additionally, several principles wereidentified and used as an aid in curriculum decisions, including a smaller core, flexible technicalelectives for multiple emphasis areas, and broad based methodology courses.In this paper, we first describe the curriculum development process using a process flowchartthat integrates the principles of product development with curriculum development. The IEcurriculum is then presented and discussed.

Meixell, M. J., & Buyurgan, N., & Kiassat, C. (2015, June), Curriculum Innovation in Industrial Engineering: Developing a New Degree Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23775

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