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Interdisciplinary Teams? An Industrial Engineering/Physical Therapy Project

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.392.1 - 5.392.6



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Paper Authors

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Andrew J. Strubhar

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Dennis Kroll

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

Session 2557

Interdisciplinary Teams? An Industrial Engineering/Physical Therapy Project

Dennis E. Kroll1, Ph.D., Andrew J. Strubhar2 1 Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering & Technology 2 Physical Therapy Bradley University Peoria, Illinois


At the 1995 ASEE Annual Conference, we reported on a newly developed project combining 4th semester Industrial Engineering students and 8th semester Physical Therapy(PT) students.[3] This project required them to develop various reports and recommendations for implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on and around campus. At the 1996 Illinois/Indiana section conference we reported on a parallel project among the same IE students along with Teacher Education(ETE) 6th semester students.[4]

Since that time, the projects have evolved and the method of guiding the students has changed. Also, the outcomes required have been modified to provide less content on the actual project and more on the development of interdisciplinary teams and teams in general. It is only on the last lecture day of the semester that the IE students have explained the underlying concepts of team formation that they had been exposed to.

The concepts that are, sometimes dramatically, placed before the students include the need to provide “investment” time when a group is heterogeneous, the presence of authority from outside the group activities (the nearly graduated PT majors often awe the sophomores with their professionalism), and the need for good, if sometimes brief, communication among the group members. Depending on the project chosen, other concepts and other pieces of their education are brought into use.

The PT and TE students do not have the advantage of two projects being manipulated in different manners. However, the exposure of other professionals to IE has a number of benefits, not the least is that some engineers are directly involved in topics not normally thought of as engineering. This paper reports on the continuing evolution of the teaching mechanisms in both the IE and PT courses involved. Various successes and failures are noted as well as plans for the future.


The problem of providing students with “real world” problems which are also academically rigorous remains in the forefront of educational planning. In 1997 the Society of Manufacturing Engineers published a list of competency gaps found by industry in newly hired engineering graduates. (See ) These gaps included communication skills, teamwork, project management, and continuous or lifelong

Strubhar, A. J., & Kroll, D. (2000, June), Interdisciplinary Teams? An Industrial Engineering/Physical Therapy Project Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8492

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