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Introducing Freshmen To The Field Of Industrial Engineering Through The Use Of Collaborative Project Experiences

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Partnerships in IE Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.778.1 - 8.778.11



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Paper Authors

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Edmund Goll

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Andrea Wittchen

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E. Zimmers

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Gregory Tonkay

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

Session 3657

Introducing Freshmen to the Field of Industrial Engineering Through the Use of Collaborative Project Experiences

Emory W. Zimmers, Jr., Gregory L. Tonkay, Edmund O. Goll Lehigh University


This paper describes a pilot module created by several members of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Lehigh University in collaboration with industry partners as a component of the freshman engineering course (Engineering 95). The module is designed to help freshmen better understand the role and function of industrial engineers (IE) and information and systems engineers (I&SE). By putting the freshmen within the context of an IE project environment, they can more accurately understand and evaluate their interest in an industrial engineering career. This enables the student to make a more informed decision regarding which engineering discipline to follow after the freshman year.

The six-week module engages students in an industrial engineering project as the means of introducing them to: 1) experiential problem-solving; 2) the engineering method of design, construct, measure and test; 3) typical aspects of people, process and technology that are found within IE projects, and 4) the necessity for good leadership, communication, and teamwork. Class sessions include an introduction to agile enterprise systems, the design of a business plan, instruction in process mapping, concepts of engineering economy and ROI, and how to conduct a design review. Teamwork and communication of project results using multimedia techniques contribute to leadership skill development. The Enterprise Systems Center Collaboratory is used to bring industry partners into the classroom via remote electronic links to provide project feedback.

The paper also describes the relationship of the IE/I&SE module to the entire Engineering 95 course, the methods that make using the module transferable to other IE faculty members with various areas of specialization, and an early look at the effectiveness of the module in defining the IE role and conveying understanding to freshmen of the IE discipline.

The Challenge

The new dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Lehigh University, Dr. Mohammed El-Aasser, challenged Lehigh’s engineering faculty to develop an innovative course, the prototype identified as Engineering 95, designed to introduce freshmen to the various engineering disciplines. He believed that freshmen engineering students were often insufficiently prepared to make an informed decision on which engineering specialty to choose in their sophomore year. Previous introductory courses had been cast in more of a “meet and greet” style, with introductions to the various faculty members and lectures on the contents of each discipline’s offerings. Dean El-Aasser’s challenge to the faculty was to create modules that “Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Goll, E., & Wittchen, A., & Zimmers, E., & Tonkay, G. (2003, June), Introducing Freshmen To The Field Of Industrial Engineering Through The Use Of Collaborative Project Experiences Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12195

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