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Lessons Learned: A Comparison of Ph.D. in Technology Management Programs

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Online and Professional Graduate Programs

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

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James Nevin McKirahan Jr. Indiana State University Orcid 16x16

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JAMES MCKIRAHAN is currently an assistant professor in Applied Engineering and Technology Management in the College of Technology at Indiana State University. Dr. McKirahan earned an Associate of Applied science degree in Electronics Technology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial Technology and Technology, respectively, from Eastern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Technology Management, Manufacturing Systems from Indiana State University. He has several years of manufacturing management, consulting, and industrial manufacturing supervision experience as well as two decades of collegiate teaching experience. He is a member of the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), the American Society for Quality (ASQ), the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Dr. McKirahan may be reached at

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A. Mehran Shahhosseini Indiana State University

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A. Mehran Shahhosseini is a Professor in the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology
Management and director of the PhD Program in Technology Management at Indiana State University. He has published over 50 articles in different journals and conference proceedings. He has served as an investigator for research projects sponsored by National Science Foundation, Ford Motor Company, and the US Army. Before working at Indiana State University, he was a faculty
in the University of Louisville for 10 years. He also has over four years of industrial experience.
He received his D. Eng. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lamar University (USA) in 1999, M.Sc. in Materials Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology in 1991, and B.Sc. in Metallurgical Engineering from Tehran University in 1988. He is a member of ASEE, ASME, and ATMAE.

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M. Affan Badar Indiana State University Orcid 16x16

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M. Affan Badar, PhD is a Professor and former Chair in Applied Engineering & Technology Management Department at Indiana State University. In 2016-18 he was on leave and worked as Professor and Chair of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management at University of Sharjah (UAE). He received a Ph.D. degree in Industrial Engineering from University of Oklahoma, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and B.Sc. (Hons.) in Mechanical Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University. Dr. Badar has published more than 60 articles in refereed journals and proceedings in the areas of quality, reliability, coordinate metrology, engineering economy, etc.

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In the USA, the Ph.D. degree in Technology Management is offered by a consortium containing five universities and five other separate degree-granting universities. The Consortium is made up of Indiana State University (Terre Haute, Indiana) as the lead degree-granting institution, Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio), East Carolina University (Greenville, North Carolina), University of Central Missouri (Warrensburg, Missouri), and North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro, North Carolina). The five separate, individual degree-granting universities are: University of Bridgeport (Bridgeport, Connecticut), Polytechnic Institute of New York University (New York, New York), Portland State University (Portland, Oregon), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York), and Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, New Jersey). All of these Ph.D. programs have similarities, but there are noticeable differences too. As universities, in general, tend to differentiate themselves through their specializations; collectively, these Ph.D. degree in Technology Management programs are no exception. For example, Stevens Institute of Technology offers five areas of research. NYU Poly does not identify specific areas of emphasis. Rensselaer focuses on business areas, while the Consortium currently focuses on engineering from an engineering technology perspective within its five areas of specialization. All programs require a master’s degree with a minimum grade point average. Standardized test scores (such as GRE, GMAT) are necessary, and proven English competency (including the Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a requirement for international students. The number of required credit hours varies from school to school ranging from 45 to 75 credit hours beyond the master’s degree. This work is an attempt to evaluate the consortium program, in general, and to provide a comparison with the other five individual degree-granting universities. The consortium program maintains most of the traditional requirement characteristics of advanced graduate study, though it is unique from a resource utilization perspective. By utilizing the resources of the five universities within the Consortium, students are provided a robust doctoral education platform via mostly at-a-distance and limited face-to-face course offerings. Consortium university programs are staffed by faculty with expertise in many areas of technology. Each university brings its unique philosophical quality to the Consortium. Further, each university provides extensive library holdings, to add depth and breadth to the Ph.D. program. The program is offered at a meager cost to students compared to similar degree programs. In the program, the minimum number of credit-bearing hours required toward degree attainment is 83 (beyond bachelor’s degree). After twenty-one years of practice and 165 graduates, the program is successful despite many administrative difficulties, built into the curriculum inefficiencies, and program procedural issues.

Currently, the Consortium enrolls 126 active students. Enrolled students are allotted nine years to complete the program. Though nine years may seem a bit too long for typical doctoral program students, the average age of students in the Consortium program is 46. Typically these are students already successfully engaged in careers who have decided to pursue this significant milestone to advance or re-direct their career paths.

Mostly senior/graduate-level qualified faculty accomplishes program facilitation and the teaching of Ph.D. coursework. Consortium Ph.D. faculty and administration often find the maintenance of the program costly and an unrewarding burden. The program is investigating revising its curriculum. Topical coursework concerning Technology Leadership, the Management of Technical Experts, Production Processes and Control, Fundamentals of Technical Finance, Project Management, Technology Marketing, and the Strategic Management of Technology is under consideration for inclusion in the curriculum. Finally, this Ph.D. in Technology Management will be compared with other typical Ph.D. in Engineering Management degree.

McKirahan, J. N., & Shahhosseini, A. M., & Badar, M. A. (2020, June), Lessons Learned: A Comparison of Ph.D. in Technology Management Programs Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34917

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