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Ignite: A New Paradigm For Curriculum Design And Deployment In Undergraduate Industrial Engineering Education

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Current Topics in IE Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.712.1 - 10.712.13



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Paper Authors

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Jackson Denise

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Charles Aikens

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

Ignite: A New Paradigm for Curriculum Design and Deployment In Undergraduate Industrial Engineering Education C. Hal Aikens, Denise F. Jackson University of Tennessee – Knoxville


This paper describes a process for achieving major reforms to the undergraduate industrial engineering curriculum at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville (UTK). The work described has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and has as its main goal the development of a new paradigm for baccalaureate engineering education. The model under development in UTK’s Department of Industrial and Information Engineering is called Ignite and will build on seven years of experience in improving the quality of engineering education through the Engage freshman engineering program, which began as an NSF sponsored activity. Ignite will build on these experiences and also incorporate the findings and specific recommendations of the Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. Though discipline-specific, our intent is to develop a curriculum and pedagogy that can form the basis for a new generic template in undergraduate engineering education that can be deployed on a national scale.

Ignite’s reformed curriculum will enable the transition from the traditional model of loosely connected individual courses to a modular structure of highly interconnected courses. Teaching methods will also undergo a radical change. An integrated learning experience will replace demonstrate-then-emulate methods. The focus will be on problem-based, cooperative, and service learning exercises; research; information technologies; and faculty teaming.

The design methodology described begins with the creation of a knowledge base consisting of program learning outcomes, content elements, and teaching resources. From the knowledge base, a process is implemented leading to a new modularized integrated curriculum that will be team-taught, will include innovations in teaching and assessment methods, and will use graduate teaching assistants in a novel way. The paper is organized in four sections: making the case for change, a proposal for innovation, a paradigm-changing methodology, and roadblocks and keys to success.

1.0 Making the Case

Three decades ago industrial engineering departments were commonplace throughout industry. These departments, and the IE’s who staffed them, played a role similar to that of a consultant. If a department had a problem, or simply was looking for a better way to do or measure something, it would contact the IE department, and the project would be assigned to one of its engineers. IE’s gained a reputation as trouble-shooters or efficiency experts, because they possessed a set of skills that enabled them to analyze processes and systematically design better, more efficient methods. Today organizations still depend on the training and expertise of industrial engineers to

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Denise, J., & Aikens, C. (2005, June), Ignite: A New Paradigm For Curriculum Design And Deployment In Undergraduate Industrial Engineering Education Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14530

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