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Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge Revision and Validation Process

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Manufacturing Workforce Development

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Paper Authors


John Irwin Michigan Technological University

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Dr. John Irwin has presented published papers at ASEE conferences from 2002-present. He is Vice Chair for ETC, and ETD Secretary. Dr. Irwin is a tenured Professor, Mechanical Engineering Technology and Chair of the MMET Department in the College of Engineering, at Michigan Technological University. In addition, he is Director of the Research and Innovation in STEAM Education (RISE) Institute at Michigan Tech. He has a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Irwin is PI for an NSF S-STEM grant until 2023. He is experienced in the manufacturing industry as well as the teaching profession with five years in engineering design, several years part time consulting in industry and over 30 total years of teaching. Dr. Irwin’s research focus is on teaching and learning in computer aided design, analysis, & manufacturing subjects.

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Michael Johnson Texas A&M University

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Dr. Michael D. Johnson is a professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. He also serves as the Associate Dean for Inclusion and Faculty Success in the College of Engineering. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M, he was a senior product development engineer at the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University. Dr. Johnson received his S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on engineering education, production economics, and design tools. Dr. Johnson has over 80 peer reviewed publications and several patents. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and industry.

Dr. Johnson is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SME, and a senior member of IEEE. He served as the president of the Tau Alpha Pi Engineering Technology Honor Society national board from 2014-2018. He is past chair of the Mechanical Engineering Technology Leadership Committee. He is also a member of the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. Dr. Johnson has won several departmental and college-level awards for teaching, research, and service. He is also an ASEE National Engineering Technology Teaching Award and Fredrick J. Berger Award winner.

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Suzy Marzano Society of Manufacturing Engineers

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The Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge, first published in 2011, is being revised to reflect the changing landscape of advanced manufacturing such as industry 4.0 concepts. The process was initiated in 2021 by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Industry Development and Technical Activities Senior Manager with the guidance of the SME Manufacturing Education and Accreditation Committee (MEAC). A sample of manufacturing experts from industry, government, and the academy taken from the SME database were surveyed. The existing twelve blocks of knowledge were presented with the option for the respondent to either keep as is, remove or edit the topics in each. Finally, additional topics were suggested for each knowledge block.

Data were cleaned to ensure accuracy. The survey was fielded from May 26, 2021 – June 14, 2021. No incentive was offered. A MEAC working group reviewed the survey providing input for usability prior to distribution. The survey was then administered online and took an average of 18 minutes for respondents to complete. There were approximately 350 surveys sent, with 75 completed yielding a response rate of approximately 21%.

Tabulations were generated using a statistical package, SPSS to discern what data to include in the results. Questions receiving fewer than 30 responses were not included in the report due to low sample size. Sample sizes of 30 respondents or greater are generally considered to be statistically reliable, meaning if the study were to be run again with a different random sample, results would not differ significantly.

Throughout the report, results of statistical significance are presented to illustrate data that is statistically significant at a 95 percent confidence level. This confidence level means there is reasonable support that the results are actually different and not different due to error or variance in the data. Testing results illustrate data points that are different enough that they fall outside the margin of error. That is, if the study were to be conducted multiple times with the same population, these data points would still be statistically different 95 percent of the time.

The final step in the process is the validation procedure involving focus groups to provide feedback on the preliminary survey data. The focus groups will be facilitated by SME subject matter experts to refine the topics in each knowledge block. The focus group sessions will be recorded for further analysis. This will provide an updated version of the Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge anticipated for publication and dissemination.

Irwin, J., & Johnson, M., & Marzano, S. (2022, August), Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge Revision and Validation Process Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41164

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