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Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: Designing Program Educational Objectives

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Best Practices in IE Education

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.651.1 - 14.651.9



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Paper Authors


Jane Fraser Colorado State University, Pueblo

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Jane M. Fraser is chair of the Department of Engineering at Colorado State University-Pueblo. She was formerly on the faculty at the Ohio State University and Purdue University. She has a BA in mathematics from Swarthmore College and MS and PhD in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California-Berkeley.

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

Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: Designing Program Educational Objectives


Industrial Engineering programs prepare graduates for a wide range of jobs in a wide range of industries. Having faculty members choose a focus for a program, design a new program, or redesign an existing Industrial Engineering program can be contentious. This paper presents a method, using descriptions of real jobs, to help faculty members talk about the types of jobs for which the program is preparing graduates and to talk about how well the program is preparing graduates for those jobs. The method allows agreements and disagreements to emerge and provides a way to talk about them. This method has obvious applications in designing program educational objectives and in reviewing and updating program educational objectives to reflect current needs of industry. Using current job descriptions focuses these conversations and helps maintain currency of the program.


To design a curriculum based on ABET-EAC criteria, one works backward, as shown in Figure 1.

Program Courses Program Program educational outcomes objectives

Figure 1: Flowchart for curriculum design

Program educational objectives (PEOs), which are “broad statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve,” are used to determine program outcomes, which are “narrower statements that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation.” Since program outcomes “relate to the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that students acquire in their matriculation through the program,” they are used to design the program, which consists of courses, designed to make up the program.

Thus, Criterion 2 is the starting point for designing a program. The most recent ABET statement1 about Criterion 2 is:

“Criterion 2. Program Educational Objectives Each program for which an institution seeks accreditation or reaccreditation must have in place: (a) published educational objectives that are consistent with the mission of the institution and these criteria

Fraser, J. (2009, June), Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: Designing Program Educational Objectives Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5624

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