Industrial Engineering: Why Students Come and What Makes Them Stay?

Abstract
The relative anonymity of industrial engineering may be a significant reason for the slow growth of the discipline and the relatively low enrollment in industrial engineering academic programs. In order to inform industrial engineering (IE) degree programs of factors that help increase both enrollment and graduation rates, this paper summarizes the outcomes of IE student interviews regarding what drew them to the industrial engineering program at the University of Oklahoma and what encouraged them to stay. Out of 45 IE students interviewed, 79 total comments (comprising 13 classifications) were identified addressing recruiting and only 27 comments (across 5 classifications) addressed retention. The majority of students (53%) reported that the nature of the degree was a critical factor in choosing IE as a major. This demonstrates the importance of informing students about IE as a career option. For retention, it appeared that student-faculty interaction had the strongest impact, as reported by 29% of the sample. While this factor may be more difficult to implement, it was critical for students in our sample to have interaction with the faculty outside of the classroom and to feel that the faculty were interested in the students’ futures.

Available from: ASEE Archive

Shehab, R. L., T. R. Rhoads and T. J. Murphy (2005). Industrial Engineering: Why Students Come and What Makes Them Stay? Proceedings of 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Portland, OR.

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