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CTI rolls out manufacturing engineering degree

February 14, 2013

College prepares students to transform domestic manufacturing industry

This fall, the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) at Arizona State University will introduce the only Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering degree offered in Arizona.

“As President Obama said in his State of the Union, we are experiencing a period of dramatic transformation in manufacturing, and there is a need to invest in and advance the manufacturing economy in Arizona and in the United States,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI. “Our ability to rebound in this economy is a direct function to be a producing economy as opposed to merely a service economy.”

A study conducted by the Brookings Institution found Phoenix to rank 16th among the top 100 U.S. metro areas in number of jobs within the manufacturing industry. The concentration of high-technology manufacturing in such areas of aerospace and semiconductors in the Phoenix metropolitan area continues to create a demand for highly educated manufacturing engineers to fill the pipeline for future growth.

Manufacturing is often the culmination of the engineering process. Successful manufacturing enterprises balance design, sustainability and quality with production to sustain competitive advantage in the global market.

The applied nature of manufacturing is well-aligned with the mission of CTI and to the needs of local industry. The manufacturing engineering program will give students an applied education in a hands-on, experiential, team-based learning environment. Students will experience a strong emphasis on practical work through the engineering ‘project spine’ – a real-world project each semester, culminating with a two-semester college-wide capstone project on multi-disciplinary teams. The project spine is supplemented with more detailed modeling, simulation and manufacturing processes curriculum.

“Our students thrive on designing solutions to real needs and the manufacturing engineering program will provide opportunities for students to make impact in meaningful ways,” said Ann McKenna, associate professor and chair of the engineering department at CTI. “By its nature, manufacturing engineering embeds thinking globally, and engages students in the entire design process from developing a concept to seeing that concept through manufacturing, supply chain and end-of-life.

"Manufacturing engineers work in an ever-changing, fast paced, and complex environment to design the processes to make products with the required functionality, to desired quality standards, based on customer needs, at the best possible price, and in environmentally-friendly ways.”

Students in the manufacturing program will have access to state-of-the-art fabrication facilities at CTI that mirror the same equipment they will see in the industry. They will graduate with the ability to model, simulate and analyze manufacturing production processes for both small and large-scale environments.

CTI’s recently announced partnership with TechShop, a national membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio, will supplement students’ access to a wide range of machinery, tools and software to turn their ideas into reality. TechShop is slated to open this fall, with memberships available to ASU students and community makers and innovators.

“CTI already has the foundation for a successful manufacturing program,” said Montoya. “The combination of faculty expertise, well-equipped facilities, a project-focused curriculum and our embedded engagement with industry will make this a strong program that can aid both Arizona and the nation in their quest for high levels of manufacturing competitiveness.”

Graduates of the manufacturing engineering program will be prepared for a variety of manufacturing environments such as high volume/low variety mix found in industries like consumer goods, as well as high value/low volume environments often found in aerospace. Career opportunities for manufacturing engineers include direct manufacturing support, manufacturing management and quality control and assurance in large and midsized-established manufacturing companies as well as small or start-up companies.