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Ergonomics Topics for the Undergraduate Classroom

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Industrial Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Terri M. Lynch-Caris Kettering University

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Terri Lynch-Caris, Ph.D., P.E., is a Professor of Industrial Engineering (IE) and Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, holds an MS Degree from Purdue University and a BS from Kettering University, formerly GMI-Engineering & Management Institute. She teaches courses in Work Design, Ergonomics, Statistics and various other Industrial Engineering classes. Her research is in the area of Human Work Design, Educational Scholarship and Environmental Sustainability.

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Letitia M. Pohl University of Arkansas

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Letitia Pohl is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Arkansas, an M.S. in Systems Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane University. Dr. Pohl served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force for eight years. At the University of Arkansas, she has served as the Assistant Director of the Mack-Blackwell Rural Transportation Center and conducted research in warehouse design and operations, transportation security, and inland waterways security. She has taught in both the Industrial Engineering and Civil Engineering departments, and currently teaches Engineering Economic Analysis, Ergonomics, Facility Logistics and Introduction to Operations Management.

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Ergonomics Topics for the Undergraduate Classroom

The industrial engineering classroom must continually evolve to meet the needs of a changing workplace. In the undergraduate education of an industrial engineer, the core curriculum is packed with broad topics including Engineering Economy, Statistics, Operations Research and Manufacturing Systems. Most Industrial Engineering programs will include a course or a series of courses in Work Design and/or Ergonomics, although the content coverage will likely vary depending on the term length, instructor preference and institutional focus. The introductory course may scratch the surface of a variety of topics or provide an in-depth look at a focused group of topics.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the topics taught in traditional Ergonomics courses. With the understanding that undergraduate ergonomic courses should align with professional societies as well as industrial needs, the courses and labs are compared to professional standards of well-respected industrial and academic organizations. In addition, ongoing discussions with external industrial constituents validate the importance of contemporary topics to prepare students to enter the workforce.

This information can be used to assess core competencies and appropriate performance criteria to improve course content and delivery. Two courses will be contrasted based on their syllabus topics with future applications to learning objectives, lab resources, and teaching strategies.

Lynch-Caris, T. M., & Pohl, L. M. (2016, June), Ergonomics Topics for the Undergraduate Classroom Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26733

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