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Opportunities And Challenges For Manufacturing Engineering

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Our Future in Manufacturing

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1130.1 - 12.1130.15



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Paper Authors


Danny Bee University of Wisconsin-Stout

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DANNY J. BEE is an Assistant Professor of Manufacturing Engineering since 1995 and the former Program Director for Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has design/manufacturing experience in the aerospace and computer industries. In addition, he worked as a Quality Specialist in the Janesville/Beloit, WI region at Blackhawk Technical College. He is currently a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University, developing research in the area of environmentally responsible design and manufacturing.

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Bob Meyer University of Wisconsin-Stout

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

Opportunities and Challenges for Manufacturing Engineering


During the decades of the 1980’s and 1990’s, the development of undergraduate and graduate manufacturing engineering programs advanced and legitimized the manufacturing engineering discipline. With recent perceived loss of manufacturing production to oversees locations and the continued public perception of manufacturing being a dirty and non-technical career, all manufacturing related education programs have experienced difficulty in recruiting students to their programs1. Additionally, manufacturing’s increasingly technical methods, required innovativeness, and the emergence of advanced manufacturing technologies have necessitated continuous improvement of manufacturing engineering programs. Succumbing to these pressures, some undergraduate manufacturing engineering programs have even begun to close, despite the high demand for the graduates of these programs. This paper will examine strategies that the University of Wisconsin-Stout has deployed to keep its manufacturing engineering program one of the largest and most vibrant in the face of these challenges.

Current State of Manufacturing Engineering Education

Shortly after 9/11, the University of Wisconsin-Stout Manufacturing Engineering Program experienced a dramatic downturn in enrollment, shrinking by over 40% from historic highs in only a few short years (Figure 1). This dramatic downturn was met by alarm throughout the university, and it raised serious questions about the program’s future. Some pundits predicted the rapid decline of manufacturing in the United States and its movement to offshore competitors. An avalanche of plant closings and layoffs in the ensuing months seemed to confirm these dire predictions and, at least for the moment, prospective students began to look away from manufacturing related careers for opportunities having what they perceived as more promising futures.

B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering Enrollment Statistics 259 250 230 236 223 225 211 200 187 168 161 168 175 144 152 150 142 150 125 100 75 50 25 0 1994- 1995- 1996- 1997- 1998- 1999- 2000- 2001- 2002- 2003- 2004- 2005- 2006- 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Academic Year

Figure 1. Historic Program Enrollment for B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Stout .

Bee, D., & Meyer, B. (2007, June), Opportunities And Challenges For Manufacturing Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2937

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