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Leveraging Graduate Student Expertise In Time Of Economic Constraints

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Innovative Graduate Programs & Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.863.1 - 9.863.17



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Paper Authors

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Glenda Scales

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Cheryl Peed

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Sasima Thongsamak

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


Leveraging Expertise in Time of Economic Constraints

Sasima Thongsamak, Dr. Glenda R. Scales, Cheryl Peed

Virginia Tech


To address the need to improve the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP) at Virginia Tech, the college relied upon the expertise of students completing graduate theses and group projects in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. This arrangement allowed graduate students to work on real problems as well as conduct applied research projects for an organization – the College of Engineering. The students benefited from the experience and the college benefited from the result. CGEP is a coalition of five Virginia universities that deliver engineering graduate degree programs through distance learning. Three years ago this program was under review by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Given that the CGEP director and administrators were new to this program, it was a high priority to establish metrics to determine the program’s success. Another high priority was to search for expertise in the area of performance measurements. During the past three years, progress has been made in creating a continuous-process improvement plan for the program through the application of management systems methodologies. This paper discusses how graduate student expertise was used to assist with improving administrative aspects of the CGEP. It also describes the progression of projects and how data was analyzed and used to establish future direction. The concept described in this paper is traditional, yet the success of the methods used to improve the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program offers a new way to apply management system methodologies.


The Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP) is a distance learning graduate consortium that provides working engineers high quality post-baccalaureate engineering education and the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree. The consortium is a collaboration among five universities in the State of Virginia: Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.1 By participating in CGEP, students can obtain Master’s degrees, certificates, or non-credit seminar programs, either on campus or via interactive video conferencing.

This program has been inexistence since 1983 and has served the Commonwealth of Virginia well. Yet it was time to undertake a major self-study to ensure that the program continues to “Proceedings of the 2004 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American society of Engineering Education”

Scales, G., & Peed, C., & Thongsamak, S. (2004, June), Leveraging Graduate Student Expertise In Time Of Economic Constraints Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13590

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