SRU Trustees send new engineering degree to BOG


Cheryl Norton at council of trustees meeting

SRU President Cheryl Norton discusses the proposed Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering degree program.

March 18, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's council of trustees voted today to advance a new degree program to Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education board of governors for approval.

The program, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering, will be presented for action at the BOG's April 6-7, 2016 meeting.

The goal of the proposed program is to produce skilled graduates who will:

• Successfully participate as professional engineers in all industries requiring professional industrial and systems engineers and/or to be successful in post-graduate education;

• Engage in life-long professional development with a commitment to continual professional growth;

• Achieve leadership positions in the industry of their choice; and,

• Consistently practice professional and ethical responsibilities, and be mindful of the role of professionals in global society.

The educational objectives of the program are to give graduates a strong foundation in mathematics, basic sciences and business; an understanding of scientific and engineering principles and the application of these principles in solving process improvement problems using modern tools; an understanding of conventional engineering design principles as well as those pertaining specifically to the field of industrial and systems engineering; and development of technical communication and teamwork skills, as well as understanding the engineer's professional, ethical and societal obligations.

According to organizers, SRU's program has several distinguishing features, including:

Location: Western Pennsylvania and neighboring regions are among top employers for industrial and systems engineers. In 2014, the Pittsburgh region saw a 7.9 percent increase in industrial engineering jobs, resulting in nearly 2,200 available positions. From Detroit, Michigan to Warren, Ohio the increase was 35.3 percent or 11,564 jobs.

New, state-of-the-art methodologies: The program will be designed to include many important and new methodologies, including Six-Sigma, Lean and Sustainability.

Access to industry professionals: Over the last several years, a number of major energy companies have started operations in the greater Pittsburgh area. This rapidly growing industry will not only provide job and internship opportunities for students in the program, but also provide access to practicing professionals who can be invited to conduct workshops and seminars on campus on a regular basis.

Well-rounded educational experience: SRU's strong liberal studies program combined with the rigorous science, mathematics and engineering curriculum will produce holistic engineers capable of analyzing problems from diverse perspectives. Graduates will not only be technically competent, but will also be conscious of their societal obligations and ethical responsibilities.

Affordability: SRU can offer the degree at a substantially lower in-state cost than the other programs in the region, including Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia University.

The curriculum will utilize a combination of existing courses and a group of 14 proposed courses. To meet the general ABET Engineering accreditation requirements, the curriculum will contain a minimum of 32 hours of college-level mathematics and basic science; 48 hours of engineering topics consisting of engineering science and engineering design; and general education components in addition to distinct outcomes for specific engineering fields. In order to meet those requirements, the proposed program will require 128 credit hours.

"The field of industrial and systems engineering has the third highest number of engineering professionals throughout the national engineering workforce," said Christy Crute, SRU assistant professor of mathematics. "Analysis of the needs of employers within 150 miles of Slippery Rock shows the need for industrial engineering skills exceeds the availability, making this program an important addition to the University's array."

The proposed program, if approved by the BOG, would begin in fall 2016.

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