Master of Science in Engineering Management University of Tennessee Chattanooga

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1 NARRATIVE REPORT Master of Science in Engineering Management University of Tennessee Chattanooga Part 1 - Student Experience External Reviewer Report by Dr. Resit Unal, Old Dominion University Are admissions standards appropriate to the degree level, stated clearly, and consistently applied? The admissions standards and requirements are appropriate for a professional master s degree in engineering management. They are clearly stated and consistently applied. Is information regarding admissions and retention standards clearly outline in the institution s catalog and available to all applicants and enrolled students? Information about admission standards is clearly stated in the institution s catalog, website and brochures about the program. Information about retention standards is available elsewhere. None of the students and faculty I have met indicated any problem with the availability of this information. What efforts are made to recruit and retain students? Are enrollment levels sufficient to ensure the critical mass of students necessary for appropriate peer groups? Enrollment levels are appropriate for a master s degree program in engineering management. Overall, the data provided indicates a linear trend maintaining a critical mass. There is an ongoing effort in recruiting students involving local employers. Recent offering of the master s degree in engineering management on-line is expected to increase enrollments by reaching students outside the immediate local area. Are enrolled students properly oriented to the department and institution? Does student support, such as personalized instruction, advisement, and guidance continue after orientation? Are the department's efforts in curricular and career advising adequate to meet student needs? What changes/ improvements are needed to improve the department's effectiveness in advising? Is student progress periodically monitored? Students are properly orientated to the program and advised on an ongoing basis by the chair and faculty. Career advising is done by faculty with the assistance of the advisory board offering guidance on economic trends and employment opportunities. Student academic progress is monitored to ensure that progress is being made and that curricular requirements are met. Students are contacted by faculty if there are issues. One change that would improve the effectiveness of student advising, guidance, curriculum development and recruitment would be the addition of at least one additional tenure-track faculty position with a terminal degree in engineering management. At present there are heavy administrative loads in two

2 key faculty and heavy teaching and advising loads on the rest of the full-time faculty members for the master s degree students as well as the B.S. in Engineering Technology Management students. Are retention standards clearly stated and consistently applied? How could the department improve recruitment and retention? The retention standards are clearly stated and are consistently applied. If a student s overall GPA drops below 3.00, they are brought in for counseling and given one semester to bring their GPA up to the 3.00 required for graduation. If they fail to do so, they are suspended from the program. This is consistent with the current practice in other Universities. Are there appropriate time limits for degree completion? Are the time limits appropriate for the degree level to ensure that students knowledge is up-to-date when the degree is awarded? The time limit for completion of all requirements for the master s program is six years. This is appropriate and in-line with the peer programs. Are there appropriate curricular offerings to enhance student experiences? Are any short courses accepted towards the degree program? Is prudence exercised in the number and type of acceptable short courses? Short training courses are not accepted in lieu of standard course requirements for the program. The continuation of this policy is recommended. Are distant education programs available? Are programs offered entirely through distance education technologies evaluated regularly to ensure outcomes at least equivalent to on-campus programs? All the courses in the graduate program are offered online as well as in the classroom. The online option is important for retention and recruitment of both the local and distant students. Almost all of the program s students work full-time which often requires business travel and other work obligations. The online format offers them a way to keep pace with assignments and course material. There are also onlineonly students who may have to move and live at a distance in other states. The online courses are evaluated using the same standards to ensure that the learning outcomes are consistent with classroombased courses. Are there appropriate extracurricular offerings to enhance student experiences? Does the program provide students with enrichment opportunities, such as lecture series, student organizations, etc.? Are such opportunities adequate to promote a scholarly environment? The program provides students with several enrichment opportunities both within and outside the college. The department hosts several series of seminars bringing in local industry leaders. Relationships with the Association of General Contractors and Building Information Modeling enhance student experiences. For some of the on-line students taking advantage of on-campus extracurricular activities may be difficult. I would recommend the creation of student chapters, especially with the American Society for Engineering Management.

3 Does the program provide adequate opportunities for student professional development? To what extent does the program encourage membership in professional organizations, support participation in conferences and workshops, and/or promote opportunities for student publication? The department has relationships with the Project Management Institute, Construction Specifications Institute, American Society for Quality Control and American Society for Engineering Management. Attending the meetings and presenting papers in the conferences of these organizations is very important for student professional development. The program promotes such opportunities and recommended to continue to do so. Does the program provide adequate opportunities for student internships, practica, and/or field experiences? The capstone project that is required for all students for the program offers the opportunity to participate in a practicum or industry experience. Part 2 Graduate Faculty Quality Are faculty competencies/qualifications those needed by the program and by UTC? Do faculty hold terminal degrees in the appropriate discipline? The full-time faculty members in the program all hold terminal degrees in appropriate disciplines. Do faculty specialties correspond to program needs and to the concentrations in which they teach? All full-time faculty members have different specialties both in education and experience that complement each other in the concentrations offered. If faculty need additional/ different competencies/qualifications, how might these needs be addressed? Some additional/different competencies/qualifications are covered by hiring adjunct faculty with the needed education and/or experience. This is appropriate and common practice for professional master s degree programs in engineering management. Are faculty effectively serving graduate students as mentors? Do faculty members have sufficient practical, professional, and/or academic experience to serve as mentors? The students I met were extremely complimentary of the faculty in the program. They referred to their work experience and regarded them as mentors with whom they could discuss their careers and future opportunities. Are faculty members actively involved in scholarly activity? To what extent does such scholarly activity facilitate mentoring of students? All faculty members have been active in scholarly activities that are appropriate for the program. A couple of faculty are approaching retirement. As noted earlier the department head has also been serving

4 as associate dean. Now she is serving as interim dean. Another key faculty has taken over as department head and associate dean. It may be a concern that the current department head and the interim dean may be overloaded with teaching, advising and administrative responsibilities limiting their scholarly activities. However, faculty does present at conferences and submit papers for publication. This situation provides another argument for adding at least one more full-time faculty position to the department when feasible. Students are occasionally included in research projects. Do the faculty have regular opportunities for professional development such as travel and participation in professional organizations, workshops, and other learning experiences? I m not sure on how the availability of funding for faculty travel to conferences is organized, but faculty are given the opportunity to attend at least one conference and present papers. This is important for the professional development of the faculty for tenure and promotion decisions, keeping up with current practices as well as integrating new knowledge to course offerings. Are faculty teaching loads sufficiently reasonable and equitable to accommodate the highly individualized nature of a graduate program, especially the direction of theses or dissertations? The full-time faculty members in the department are adequate to deliver a quality graduate program. I think adding at least one more full-time faculty with a terminal degree in engineering management is needed. The former department chair/head, now serving as interim dean, and the current head has taken on a heavy load. While their willingness and passion to make the program a success program is to be commended, one would be concerned about the program s future if these two faculty were to leave UTC. Especially Dr. Alp s contribution to the department and its programs would be difficult to replace. Another concern is about the preparation and delivery of online courses, which take a lot of time, effort and commitment from the faculty. Each online course is carefully prepared and updated every semester, but the online courses seem to be weighted the same as on-campus traditional courses for purposes of faculty work load. I would suggest that this be reviewed, both at the College and the University level, for purposes of equity, performance evaluation and programs growth. Capstone projects are a critical part of the curriculum, the essential learning experience for the students. Faculty supervision/advising of the projects requires many hours of work. Most of the load seems to be concentrated on four faculty. Faculty members who teach graduate courses also deliver their courses online, and supervise/advise capstone projects/theses should receive extra credit over and above that received by faculty members who teach only undergraduate courses in a traditional format. The specifics need to be worked out in the context of UTC resources and priorities but I feel this is essential for the growth and success of the on-line program where significant opportunities for growth exist. I would suggest researching workload and incentive models at other institutions such as Old Dominion University that might provide some insights. Part 3 Teaching and Learning Environment Is the current curriculum adequate to enable students to develop the skills and attain the outcomes needed for graduates of this program? Is the curriculum content what it needs to be? Is the core curriculum appropriate to the discipline? Is there a provision for planned disciplinary specialization beyond the core including

5 courses characterized by advanced disciplinary content and academic rigor? At the master s level, is degree credit from dual-listed courses limited to 1/3 of the total hours required? The curriculum was recently revised with two new concentrations under the Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM) program and the number of electives was expanded to facilitate these changes. The new curriculum has proved to be popular and successful. There is an excellent core of five courses, a capstone course and sixteen electives. There is plenty of room in the curriculum to allow students some specialization and advanced academic content and rigor. Dual-listed courses are minimal, well under the one-third guideline. Are there appropriate opportunities to learn the tools, techniques, or methodologies that are needed to understand the discipline and actually practice the education acquired? All the major components of a graduate program in Engineering Management are available in the curriculum with plenty of opportunities for students to get the practice/understanding they need to be successful. Are courses offered frequently enough to ensure the timely completion of the degree? Core and elective courses appear to be scheduled in such a way that students have no difficulty in completing the program in a timely fashion. The students I talked to noted that the schedule of core courses is clear and consistent so that they can make long term plans but not so for elective offerings. It is understandable that making a long term schedule for electives is difficult, especially with 16 electives, as enrollments can vary widely. Do students have adequate opportunities to participate in extra-disciplinary courses or experiences without increasing the total number of hours required towards the degree? Engineering Management students may take courses from other disciplines as electives, especially with the new curriculum arrangement. There is a wide range of electives in different disciplines under the two new concentrations. They can do so without increasing the total 33 credit hours required to graduate. Will the curriculum need to be updated in the near future? If so, please explain and advise. The curriculum was recently revised and will not need to be updated in the near future. I would suggest reducing the number of the sixteen electives offered until new faculty positions can be secured. This may also help address the scheduling concerns brought up by the students. Should the school consider the development of any new or alternative offerings? This program meets a need in the community and meets it very well. My only suggestion for a new offering would be to introduce a doctor of engineering management program that would have a significant potential to attract students from the local industries. A large percentage of the students who are in search of a doctoral degree in engineering management work full-time and they are likely to stay in industry rather that going into academia. A doctor of engineering degree would be ideal for these students. Are adequate resources available to students? Are there adequate materials and secretarial support to encourage research and publication?

6 The materials and secretarial support for the program seem adequate. To encourage additional research and publications, full time faculty workloads may need to be reviewed. Is there adequate library support? Library support is adequate. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management is available and the Engineering Management Journal is available through online databases. I was told by the librarian that when additional funding is available, the departments are informed for any library materials they may request. Is there adequate and accessible computer support? Computer support for students looked adequate. I have seen several well equipped computer labs. Technical support for online courses needs to be reviewed however, particularly if the university decides to make online program offerings a major initiative. Based on my experience, on-line programs can grow significantly if supported with investments in technology, computer equipment and faculty resources. Are there adequate laboratory facilities? The department has several lab facilities that students can use for special projects. In general, the master s degree program in engineering management does not involve a lot of in-lab work, other than computer labs and special research projects. Is there adequate office space? There is adequate office space available for the faculty and students in this program. They seem to be well equipped and maintained. Considering current budget constraints, what are the most pressing resource needs of the program? Could these needs be met without requiring additional budgetary resources, such as savings from current program operations? How should needs of the program be prioritized? Could savings be realized from current program operations in order to fund any new budgetary needs? The online program developed by the department faculty as a pilot program has the most potential for growth in enrollments by reaching out to both local students who work full time and to students outside the immediate local area. An evidence of this is the naming the UTC M.S, Engineering Program among the top 25 colleges in the U.S. by SuperScohlar.org s Smart Choice for on-line engineering management degrees. At UTC, on-line fees are used to support the faculty to equip, develop and deliver the on-line program. Recently however, the distribution of on-line fees and tuition has changed resulting in significantly less support. Online fees, even without the reduced distribution, would barely be enough to support an online offering with such great potential. In my university, 40% of tuition income from on-line courses goes to the departments offering them. These funds are used to develop and deliver these courses, invest in new technology, incentivize the faculty and to cover the costs of additional graduate assistants and adjunct faculty for online course development. I would suggest that the allocation of online fees be reviewed and perhaps look into sharing of additional tuition generated from online offerings.

7 Part 4 Program Evaluation What are the competencies / educational outcomes that are expected of students who satisfactorily complete the program? Has the department defined the skills/student outcomes desired for its students? Does the curriculum ensure the development of appropriate skills in written and oral communications? critical thinking? computer and technology-related skills? Does the school have adequate information to know when skills have been adequately developed/outcomes have been accomplished? If not, define what kind of data/analyses is needed? The learning outcomes in written and oral communication, critical and analytical thinking, and technical skills for the program are well-defined. Student progress is tracked by the faculty in the courses where these outcomes are accomplished and documented. My university uses a software called WEAVE for this purpose where each department enters assessment outcomes. This way, summary of outcomes is easily reached and tracked. I am told that the faculty of the department meets regularly to discuss the results of the assessment efforts and areas for potential improvement. Changes in the curriculum and in the content of certain courses have resulted from these efforts. Does the program require an oral or written comprehensive exam or a culminating experience? To what extent does the comprehensive exam or culminating experience demonstrate breadth of knowledge across the discipline, depth of knowledge in specific areas, and the ability to integrate and apply knowledge independently? The program requires a capstone project from all students that serves as a culminating experience. The student works with an advisor, prepares a report and makes a formal presentation to a three member committee that evaluates the student with respect to the breadth of knowledge and the ability to integrate and apply the knowledge to a project. How do program mechanisms ensure that students demonstrate mastery of research in the discipline (e.g., through theses, research papers, case studies, etc.)? Core courses include content on research methods in the discipline, with the capstone project serving as a demonstration of the student s mastery of the material. There is also an elective course on research methods. This is appropriate for a master s degree in engineering management. Are completion rates at an acceptable level? What are the current trends in the number of degrees awarded and completion rates? The number of graduates per year is substantial and has been growing over the years. Over 30 MSEM students graduated recently. This is well above the five per year guideline. The completion rates are above average for a program in engineering management given the size of the full-time faculty members. About one fourth of the students in the program are graduating each year. How does the department evaluate completion rates? What evidence is available towards acceptable completion rates? If unacceptable, what are possible contributing factors? How is this information used towards program revision?

8 The department has an established process for evaluating completion rates. Every student in the program is evaluated on their progress toward completion at the end of each semester. Students who work full-time tend to take a semester or two breaks depending on work/travel obligations. Students who have stopped taking courses are contacted and they are advised of the time limits and availability of on-line courses. Currently there does not seem to be a problem with completion rates. I have no suggestions for further program revision to accelerate completion rates. Does the program systematically track its graduates? What mechanisms or procedures are in place for the collection of information on graduates? Is follow-up data collection regular and systematic? The department chair and department secretary keep track of the graduates and get updates on the program s contribution in their professional development and feedback. Follow-up data collection is regular and systematic. What mechanisms or procedures exist for placing graduates in positions related to the discipline? Is placement regular and systematic? How are placement activities evaluated? Most of the students in the program already work full-time. In tracking their graduates, the department learns about their progress and about the job opportunities in their work places. As majority of faculty has many years of work experience, they advise students about the opportunities in their field of expertise. The advisory board plays regular and systematic role in advising faculty about opportunities and hiring trends which the faculty then passes on to students. I would suggest increasing the size of the advisory board especially adding members from the new industries that have been moved to the area. What mechanisms or procedures are in place for curriculum evaluation? How often is the curriculum evaluated and how are proposed changes implemented? The curriculum has been revised recently. It seems to be continually evaluated by the faculty for needed revisions using student feedback, external program reviews and industry trends. Part 5 Summary Recommendations Overall, what are your impressions of the program? What are the major strengths of the program? The program in M.S. in Engineering Management fulfills a critical need by providing skills required by the employers in the area. A major strength is the current and prior chairs who understand the field of engineering management and work hard to make it a success. The curriculum is well developed and continuously evaluated by the faculty. The faculty are qualified, motivated and in touch with the local industries. The program has a significant potential to grow given the industrial growth in the region and the availability of the online courses. What are the major weaknesses of the program?

9 The program is currently healthy and doing well. If there is a weakness, the potential to grow significantly and better serve the needs of the area seems to be restricted by limited resources in two areas. The size of the full-time faculty is barely adequate to offer both the undergraduate and graduate programs and make it grow. The work load in teaching, advising and development is heavy especially for tenured/tenure track faculty, not leaving much time for scholarly publications and research. The other area would be the support for the online program. It has the potential to grow engineering management enrollments significantly if provided by university level support in resources needed. This would be a decision to be made by UTC administration. What goals would you suggest the program set for the next five years? Please list in order of priority (i.e., the most important goal first). 1. Develop an exhaustive plan for the growth of the online program and a justification for requesting additional resources for it from the University. A review of similar online programs in engineering management, how they are funded and their successes should be conducted. Study the potential for online students both within the local and distant areas and come up with additional enrollment estimates for the next five years using this data. Then, list resources needed to offer the online program. These resources should include new equipment, IT support for course development, additional faculty (both full-time and adjunct), faculty incentives (such as a one-time summer payment for course development), an outline for advertising and a detailed budget for all resources needed. Present this to the UTC administration to seek funding and support. The plan should also include enrollment/graduation projections if the online program is not funded. The outcome can determine a strategic direction for the program. 2. Develop a plan similar to above in offering a doctoral program, preferably in Doctor of Engineering Management. Such a program would have a significant potential to attract students in engineering management positions from the local industries and enable increased scholarly research participation from faculty. A large percentage of the students who are in search of a doctoral degree in engineering management work full-time and they are likely to stay and advance in industry rather than going into academia. A doctor of engineering degree would be ideal for these students. For this purpose, I would suggest cooperating with another University offering a similar program and perhaps seek a joint-offering possibility to share experience and resources. 3. Seek graduate program certification from the American Society for Engineering Management. This is a specialized accreditation process for engineering management. It can bring more visibility for the UTC program and become an advertising tool. How can the program work to achieve these goals over the next five years? Considering current budget constraints, what are the most realistic strategies the program can use to achieve the highest priority goals? A major trength of the program is its location in a rapidly growing industrial region. Most companies need expertise in the engineering management area. Issues in facilities management, logistics, product/process design and quality are common. The engineering management faculty at UTC is in a unique position to address such problems. Partnerships with the industry in recruiting students, funding

10 student/faculty projects, internships and research funding can generate resources. This assumes an incentive system and a project funded faculty release time system is in place. Additional resources from the industry participation will help reaching the highest priority goal but I think it will still require a commitment of investment from the University. What goals would require additional resources? What level of resources would these goals require? How might the program secure these resources? Significant growth of enrollments for the online program is going to require a commitment and a sizeable investment from the University. The amount of investment can be determined by the recommended plan in Goal 1 above. It would be difficult for me to provide numbers but I can give some examples from my own institution. Faculty gets about $3000 for developing a new online course and full IT support from our Distance Learning organization. Forty percent of the tuition generated by online courses goes to the departments to use these funds to support the offering of online courses/programs. The possibility of such an arrangement may be difficult at UTC but it is just an example of a way to support online/distance learning offerings where real growth comes without much investment in new facilities. This would be difficult for an undergraduate program in chemical engineering but it works fine for a master s degree in engineering management where specialized labs are not needed. I believe, an investment in the online program can pay for itself by generating substantial increases in additional student credit hours and tuition revenue. Again, such a strategic decision is up to UTC administration. The plan suggested will help in making such a decision.

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