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Using Lean Principles to Improve an Engineering Technology Assessment Process

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

ET Administrative Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Kevin R. Cook Montana State University

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Kevin Cook is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Montana State University with primary teaching responsibilities supporting the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program. He also serves as the Curriculum Coordinator of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, supporting curricular activities of the MET, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Management Systems Engineering programs. Mr. Cook holds a B.S. degree in MET and a M.S. degree in Industrial and Management Engineering, both from Montana State University. Mr. Cook has significant industrial experience and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Montana. His research interests relate to education improvement, as well as curriculum design and integration.

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Robb E. Larson Montana State University

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Robb Larson is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, in the College of Engineering at Montana State University. He has been with the department since 1993 and teaches the interdisciplinary ME/MET capstone course, as well as courses in renewable energy, instrumentation, and computer applications.

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Daniel Miller

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Students select a university and a specific program within that university for varied reasons. One of the most important reasons is program reputation related to quality of education. As educators, we must strive to provide academic opportunities that maintain this reputation, as well as support all constituents of the university (industry, students, university administrators, parents, etc.). Continuous improvement activities supporting university accreditation, as well as ABET accreditation provide reasonable guidelines for meeting our accreditation obligations. The most recognizable quality indicator of the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program at Montana State University (MSU) is ETAC of ABET accreditation. We have maintained this accreditation since 1974. As ABET policies and procedures have evolved throughout the years, so too have our assessment procedures and activities evolved. Unfortunately, our assessment processes seem to have evolved to be more demanding than we feel they need to be. Therefore, as we have some time before our next ABET evaluation visit, we have undertaken a process review of our assessment activities. This process review is based on lean principles used in industry, with the main goal of eliminating waste through identification of non-value-added activity in processes. To accomplish this goal, we strove to first; identify the current-state of our continuous improvement and assessment activity, second; evaluate the current-state of our activity to find value, third; eliminating wasted activity and develop a future-state map – what our processes should look like, and fourth; implement and achieve this future-state. Application of lean principles provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at how we not only measure program quality, but how we assess and evaluate the ability of the program to meet expectations of our constituents. Ultimately, improvement in quality is a continuous process, and the MET program at MSU is dedicated to continuously evaluating and improving the curriculum and facilities. This paper will summarize the activities completed, the change opportunities identified, and the plans made for implementation of the identified improvements.

Cook, K. R., & Larson, R. E., & Miller, D. (2018, June), Using Lean Principles to Improve an Engineering Technology Assessment Process Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31208

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