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Quantifying Quality: A Measurement Attempt For Return On Investment For A Small Electronics Engineering Technology Program

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Industry Collaborations in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1015.1 - 13.1015.9



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Paper Authors

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Frank Bartonek Cessna Aircraft Company

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Bruce Dallman Pittsburg State University

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James Lookadoo Pittsburg State University

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


This paper offers observations from a faculty student team internship with a NASA Laboratory and an aircraft company in the summer of 2007. Both organizations have alumni employed from the team’s home program.

The onsite observations allowed analysis of educational effectiveness for Pittsburg State University’s Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) program. Perspectives are included from the company and Pittsburg State’s Dean of Technology. Observations concerning program improvements are made for the program’s internal consideration. Effectiveness of alumni on the national laboratory’s efforts and the bottom line of the company’s sales are measured for these external constituents. The overarching goal is to establish some sort of return on investment estimation to the taxpayer constituents of a small engineering technology program. The process described may suggest paths to establishing economic effectiveness metrics for engineering technology programs.

The summer of 2007 brought one of the authors an unusual profession development opportunity. This paper presents an overview of events and how circumstance allowed a measure of an academic program’s effectiveness. Additional observations representing administrative and corporate viewpoints are given and results are outlined. First, we present some background and an overview of events.


The Electronics Engineering Technology program at Pittsburg State University offers a four year degree in basic electronics. The program’s institution has approximately 7,000 enrolled and is located in a rural part of the state of Kansas. Overall, the institution has seen a steady slow growth. Current program enrollment is slightly above sixty people and trends have been slowly downward for the last two decades. There are 3.5 FTE faculty members for the program. Demand for program graduates has exceeded supply for most of the past decade.

One of the challenges teaching Electronics Engineering Technology in a relatively isolated area is professional development. The rural setting has advantages for life style but presents a challenge for maintaining technical currency. Meeting this challenge coupled with a fascination with aerospace has led one of the authors to participate in a series of summer faculty experiences with the space agency. Several of these opportunities were with programs coordinated through ASEE and have been vitally important in development and also offering opportunity for students. The latest opportunity involved a year and a half experimental program at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. Eight teams comprised of a faculty member and one or

Bartonek, F., & Dallman, B., & Lookadoo, J. (2008, June), Quantifying Quality: A Measurement Attempt For Return On Investment For A Small Electronics Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3348

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