(531c) Two Innovations: Five-Year Program in Engineering and Management and the Mps Program

Authors: 
Woods, D. R. - Presenter, McMaster University


Two unique curricular approaches have been taken at McMaster University.

In the Five-year Engineering and Management program students graduate with a fully-accredited degree in engineering plus the core courses of Bachelor of Commerce degree (micro and macro economics, finance, accounting, marketing, policy, organizational behaviour, operations research); this is more than the first year of an MBA, plus unique Engineering and Management courses developed with industry on communication, people skills and project work for an external client that requires both commerce and engineering expertise. Although the program requires five years, the trick was to provide the required 42 credit hours of MBA material plus 6 units of commerce electives but only require one additional year of 38 credit. This was achieved by astutely providing credit within both programs and by spreading the courses carefully through the five year program. The first graduates were in 1975. The response by alumni and recruiters has been extremely positive. We have restricted enrolment in the program.

The MPS program was created in response to the need to improve our students skill in problem solving. We did an extensive five year research program to determine what we might do. We discovered that additional skills besides problem solving were needed (including time and stress management, interpersonal skills, conflict management, learning skills, goal setting, creativity, analysis, critical thinking, self awareness of uniqueness, lifelong learning, self assessment and so on). We found that workshops were the most effective vehicle to develop such skills. In the McMaster Problem Solving (MPS) program about 120 hours of workshops were spread over four required courses in the four year program (one course in sophomore year, two in junior year and one in senior year). The program was implemented in 1982. Details are given of the MPS program and its effectiveness at http://www.chemeng.mcmaster.ca/innov1.htm and MPS.

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