From Industrial Engineering Graduate Management Outreach
Young technology professionals, a 4*10 work week, a desire to advance their careers, and an engineering department willing to serve the need. Mix all these components together and what do you get? The Y-12 Oak Ridge Industrial Engineering Masters Degree Outreach. Every Friday for the last two semesters from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the UT Oak Ridge Conference center, a cohort of engineering graduate students, mainly from the Y-12 plant, have been completing coursework toward a master’s in industrial engineering.
Each class day began by the cohort jointly meeting with the East Tennessee Economic Development Council (ETEC). ETEC is a group of community leaders and technology professionals who gather to understand the needs and opportunities of the Oak Ridge Complex and its supporting organizations for the betterment of the region. Typically, meetings included diverse presentations on subjects from solar power to modularized nuclear power generation to the new STEM academy. After the meeting, the cohort debriefs on both the content and the style of the presenters providing real world examples of professional communications and current event topics. The cohort and the executive committee are pictured at the last meeting where the cohort presented a check to ETEC to say thanks for their year long hospitality that consistently resulted in standing room only meetings.
After the ETEC meetings, the class continued throughout the day with courses in new venture analysis, engineering management, proposal writing, and logistics, among other topics. The program has been designed to grant successful candidates a master’s in industrial engineering after four semesters of guided study. Special projects related to practical work situations (where unclassified) are woven into the curriculum to add value for Y-12. Some students have been able to file patent disclosures based on their efforts in the class.
The first year results are promising with the enrollment increasing from nineteen to thirty students between the first and second semesters, and increasing interest shown for the fall from other sites including ORNL and Pantex. This effort reveals exceptional institutional cooperation between UT and Y-12. Within the UT system, expertise from conferences and UT non-credit programs (Robert Gibbs, Carla Arbogast), the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at UT (Rupy Sawhney, H. Lee Martin) and the Engineering Management Program at UTSI (Greg Sedrick).