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Curriculum Revisions At Gwu

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.137.1 - 1.137.6



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Paper Authors

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Robert C. Waters

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

Session 1139

Curriculum Revisions at GWU

Robert C. Waters George Washington University

We, in the Department of Engineering Management of the George Washington University, introduced a revised curriculum for our master’s programs in the Fall 1995 Semester. Among the curriculum changes, we dropped two undergraduate prerequisites [6 credit hours], but increased the graduate program’s degree requirements from 11 courses to 12 [36 credit hours]. One of the former prerequisite courses was Engineering Economic Analysis [EMgt 160]. The addition to the required course sequence was Survey in Finance and Engineering Economics [EMgt 260]. In the new course, most of the traditional engineering economy topics were incorporated.

Several concerns triggered the creation of the new course. These included a desire on the part of the faculty to reduce the number of prerequisite courses, a change in the composition of the faculty, and recommendations from graduates of the Department. Surveys our graduates in 1982 and 1990 had revealed that they believed an enhanced knowledge of accounting and finance was very desirable for the career development of engineering managers. Initially, we did not act on their suggestions because of a lack of an appropriate constellation of internal political forces. However, during 1993, a committee was formed to examine an appropriate course content. After much discussion, a proposal was developed and submitted to the full faculty for approval. The proposal is shown as Exhibit 1. As you may see, it contained the “kitchen sink;” i.e., a broad range of topics from macroeconomic, accounting, finance, and production management.

I was given the assignment to design and teach the initial course offering. Based on my experience at GE and TRW, to be effective as an engineering manager, I believed that the students needed three perspectives to interact effectively with financial personnel in their organizations. These were: [1] How financial budget and reports are constructed for organizational elements, programs, and projects, [2] How proposals and organizational elements are evaluated, using financial criteria, and [3] What arbitrary assumptions underlie the construction of financial projections and reports, and how these assumptions potentially impact the evaluation of results.

I offered the course for the first time in the following Fall 1995 Semester. The syllabus is presented as Exhibit 2. In addition to the text books identified on the syllabus, other textual materials were provided to the students; they are identified in Exhibit 3.

The chapter headings of the assigned text books are shown on Exhibits 4 and 5. If you compare the topics presented in Exhibits 3, 4, and 5 against the aspirations shown on Exhibit 1, you may observe that results fell far short of plans. Basically, the new course addressed the topics of time value of money, replacement

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Waters, R. C. (1996, June), Curriculum Revisions At Gwu Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5959

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