June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1130.1 - 12.1130.15
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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