June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.831.1 - 11.831.7
Introducing Engineering Management to High School Students
Attracting students to Engineering Management as a major and as a career field has always been challenging. One aspect of the problem is the difficulty in explaining to students in simple and clear terms just what Engineering Management is. Despite its well known reputation, including its place as the founding department in the field and being ABET accredited, it is unusual for an incoming freshman student at the University of Missouri – Rolla (UMR) to have much understanding of the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering (EMSE) Department or its Engineering Management undergraduate major. The other key aspect of the problem is the general decline in interest in Engineering. Yankelovich1 reports that in Japan, 66% of undergraduate students receive engineering or science degrees, and that number in China is 59%. That compares to only 32% in the U.S. When the science component is stripped out of those figures, the numbers are even more dismal. As Barrett2 indicates, less than 5% of U.S. students receive engineering degrees as compared to 65% in China and 29% in Japan. Overall, Asian countries produce eight times as many bachelor’s degrees in engineering as the U.S.3 As Friedman4 describes the problem, “In China today, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears – and that is our problem.” This growing vulnerability is seen as a key trend in higher education that must be effectively addressed if the U.S. is to maintain its world leadership in technology. Yankelovich, Barrett, and Friedman all point out this vulnerability and its negative impact on the future of the U.S.
At UMR an attempt is being made to address this problem through a summer program for high school students in which the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering (EMSE) Department has been an active participant. High school juniors and seniors participate in the week long Jackling Introduction to Engineering Program5 every summer. This camp is held for three, one week sessions during the months of June and July. The purpose of the program is to introduce engineering disciplines to high school students to aid them in their choice of study for their college career of which they are soon to embark. While the department has been active in the program for several years, until now no attempt has been made to study the impact of this program on the level of understanding of the participants of the field of Engineering Management or the impact of this summer program on their decision to pursue a degree in this field.
When the visiting high school students come to the department, they are given a tour of the building, including the computer learning centers and the Integrated Systems Facility Laboratory which houses numerous pieces of equipment to aid in design of lean and flexible manufacturing systems. During the students’ visit, they are also asked to compete in two simulations that are used to simulate decision making and job functions that are common for graduates of the EMSE department.
Elrod, C., & Daughton, W. (2006, June), Introducing Engineering Management To High School Students Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://216-185-13-174.i95.net/5
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