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Growing Pains: Managing Rapid Growth In A Graduate Engineering Technology Program

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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

New Trends in Graduate Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.661.1 - 14.661.10



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Paper Authors

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Joy Colwell Purdue University, Calumet

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

Growing Pains: Managing Rapid Growth in a Graduate Engineering Technology Program


The School of Technology at Purdue University Calumet offers a newly approved Master of Science degree in Technology. The Master’s program has experienced dramatic growth, with the enrollment of graduate students rising in a few short months from 28 in Spring 08 to 69 in Fall 08. This paper will explore the growth in enrollments, and discuss the challenges and methods used by the School in managing a rapid and unanticipated rate of growth. Issues discussed will include marketing, international enrollment, planning of diverse course offerings for seven different programs and interdisciplinary areas, meeting the needs of part-time and full- time graduate students, faculty load, resources, planning for assessment, and related issues. Also considered are balancing program level issues and concerns with School-level planning for the graduate degree. This is a further development of the experiences in planning curriculum for a new degree discussed in a previous paper. The degree is intended to prepare students for leadership or supervisory roles in technology and technology-related fields. Recommendations for how to address some of these challenges will be made, based upon the author’s experiences as graduate program coordinator.


Purdue University Calumet is a regional campus serving approximately 9,300 students, located in a highly urban environment in a large metropolitan area.i The campus is located in Northwest Indiana, just outside Chicago. The campus serves a diverse population of about half traditional students and half non-traditional students. Sixty percent of the student population is full-time. Seventy-four percent of its students are first generation college students (neither parent attended college). Minority students comprise about 30% of the total body and female students comprise 57% of the student body. Most of the students are commuters, with a small but increasing percentage of residential students.ii The University is a master’s level campus, with a renewed emphasis on and commitment to graduate level education. Currently, the campus has 1000 graduate level students, up from 904 for Spring 2008.iii

The MS in Technology is a directed-project based, thirty-three hour degree program: three core courses (9 credit hours) taken by all students in the program, Measurement and Evaluation in Industry & Technology, Quality and Productivity in Industry & Technology, and Analysis and Research in Industry and Technology; four primary area courses (12 credit hours) in the area of concentration, three courses in technical electives (9 credit hours), which vary by student area of interest; and a directed project course (3 credit hours) also taken by all students in the program. Students may focus on any of the program areas for their primary area or area of concentration, or may choose to study an approved interdisciplinary area. The program areas available for study are: • Computer Graphics Technology

Colwell, J. (2009, June), Growing Pains: Managing Rapid Growth In A Graduate Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4804

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