June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.409.1 - 13.409.11
Development of a New Graduate Degree Program at a Regional Campus: The Process, Challenges, and Results
As technology advances, the need for a highly-educated workforce will continue to grow. An educated workforce is important to the economy at both the national and local levels. Thus, the need to increase the number of scientists and engineers, especially at the graduate level is well recognized.1,2
Overall approaches to increase enrollment in graduate engineering programs can be characterized as making graduate engineering programs more accessible or more attractive, or by increasing the pool of interested, qualified students.1,2 Specific examples of these approaches have been documented in the educational literature.3-9 For example, efforts to make a graduate education accessible through distance learning3,4 or to make the path to the engineering graduate degree more direct through combined undergraduate and graduate degree programs5-7 are emerging strategies. In addition, programs to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities into graduate engineering programs have also been reported.8,9 Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne’s (IPFW) approach to increase graduate educational opportunities has been to establish an engineering program at our regional campus. This has been motivated by the needs of local industry.
Fort Wayne is the second largest city in Indiana and is home to a number of engineering firms in the defense, aerospace, automotive, wire die and orthopedic industries. Historically, northeast Indiana was a hub for manufacturing with products that support the transportation, electronic and logistics sectors. Fifty years ago, the biggest regional companies included International Harvester, General Electric, Westinghouse, Magnavox and ITT Communications Division. Today, the largest employers of engineers and technologists include ITT Aerospace /Communications Division, Raytheon Net Centric Systems, General Dynamics, Undersea Sensors Systems Inc., Zimmer, Biomet, DePuy, General Motors, Dana Corp, and International Truck & Engine. These companies need educational resources to grow their local talent.
The lack of graduate programs in urban areas such as Fort Wayne is rooted in the legacies of the land grant college system. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the U.S. government gave states allotments of federal land with which to create an endowment to establish state colleges. These colleges were often located on one of these federal parcels. Thus, the land grant program was responsible for locating many of our major public universities far from population centers. Indiana’s main population centers are Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville and South Bend, while the main IU campus was located in Bloomington and main Purdue campus in West Lafayette. Decisions regarding higher education funding and programs struggle to balance efficiencies inherent in utilizing existing campus infrastructure against the need to make higher education accessible to the majority of the state’s population.
Mueller, D., & Oloomi, H., & Thompson, E., & Zhao, J., & Walter, S. (2008, June), Development Of A New Graduate Degree Program At A Regional Campus: The Process, Challenges, And Results Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3592
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