June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Nuclear and Radiological
12.1030.1 - 12.1030.5
Management Changes as a Threat to Onsite Delivery Of Nuclear Engineering Technology Programs
Introduction The University of North Texas has delivered a Nuclear Engineering Technology degree program to the Comanche Peak Steam Electric Station continuously since from 1989 to the present. The program is one of only two ABET accredited Nuclear Engineering Technology programs in the United States and has been since 1995 when it became the first Nuclear Engineering Technology program to be accredited.
The program is unique in that its sole source of funding is from the utility that sponsors the University to deliver the program. This means that two faculty members and a part time secretary are supported by the program. Instructors in related topics are hired as their expertise is required to deliver the program. The State of Texas contributes no money toward the operation of the program.
The program has enjoyed what could only be described as a high level of support through its first 16 years. Retirements of initial program supporters and other changes have somewhat eroded that support. One strong underpinning for the program is that the plant accrediting agency, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, has identified the educational program at Comanche Peak as a noted strength in three consecutive accreditation visits.
The program is offered only in the evenings at the plant site using utility training department classrooms. The courses are taught by two dedicated individuals or by qualified adjuncts with special knowledge of the subject matter. Some courses are delivered by videoconference.
Threats to the Program Each perceived threat to the continuation of the program is listed below. This “threat catalog” is concluded by a ranking of the risk of the threat to the program both in terms of the ability of the faculty to influence the relative risk and the potential to result in the program termination.
Outsourcing of Employees It has become commonplace in many industries to reduce the number of direct employees and to hire contractors for certain functions. The utility began this approach in 2002 by outsourcing the secretarial functions, the Information Technology function, and some other support functions to subcontractors. Later, selected Engineering functions were outsourced to another contractor. The total number of personnel was also reduced in this process. The immediate impact of this activity on the program was to reduce the number of people eligible for utility support in college expense reimbursements. Some of the subcontractors did provide reimbursement to the students for direct expenses. A cloud of uncertainty seemed to envelop the outsourced employees in that they had become susceptible to transfer to remote locations based on the needs of their new employer. The impact on the educational program was that few of them were willing to commit to a long term proposition such as seeking a degree.
Plummer, M., & Davis, J., & Bittle, C. (2007, June), Management Changes As A Threat To Onsite Delivery Of Nuclear Engineering Technology Programs Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/3063
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