|MSU STRATEGIC INVESTMENT PROPOSAL FOR INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES|
|Title||Managing Large Enrollments in M&IE – Administrative and Laboratory Support||Request Date||2012-11-30|
|Department||Mechanical & Industrial Engineeringemail@example.com|
|Cross Depts||Through Capstone Senior Design projects, MIE students serve a wide variety of both MSU and statewide constituencies. The non-teaching minors we administer attract many students from outside of M&IE.|
|Proposed Dates||Start: ebruay 1 2013||End:|
|Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (M&IE) has experienced unprecedented enrollment growth. The largest academic department at MSU, M&IE has undergone 55% enrollment growth in the last four years and currently has 73 majors per TT faculty FTE. Maintaining the quality product that led to this growth requires increased staff support as well faculty lines. This proposal will fund necessary positions within the Department to (1) hire an administrative assistant to relieve overload of the existing office staff; and (2) hire a laboratory success technician to support and maintain the Department’s numerous laboratory facilities.|
|• Objective A.1: Educate more students while maintaining the quality of programs
Continued student enrollment growth in the M&IE department has stretched the departmental resources available to a point where it is unable to provide needed student services. This includes both direct office services as well as offering adequate computer and lab course sections. For example, increased usage of laboratory equipment has led to significant maintenance and repair requirements. This maintenance and repair activity is currently being accomplished by faculty in the department, thus reducing their already limited time available to provide quality instruction to students. Addition of a lab technician would free up faculty time, as well as reduce machine and lab equipment down-time, thus allowing more quality instructional time in the labs.
• Objective E.1: Strategically increase service, outreach, and engagement at MSU
The M&IE office is the interface between our quality people and programs and the rest of the world, be that internal or external to MSU. As enrollments grow, so must our office staff in order to maintain and improve service, outreach and engagement.
|COST AND REQUIREMENTS|
|Funding Type:||One-Time Only Funding||Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding|
|FY13||FY14||FY15||Base ($)||OTO Startup ($)||FTE;|
|Materials & Supplies||0||0|
|Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.||
The numbers above represent the totals for two positions:
Total Base = $67,094
Request Total: $67,094
|Describe the Proposal|
The exponential growth in enrollment in the MIE Department has placed significant strain on the departmental resources – both personnel and facilities – to maintain the quality of education for the expanding numbers of students. Indeed, it is that same quality which, in part, attracted the students here in the first place. The enrollment in M&IE has outpaced the MSU average and has the highest number of majors per faculty FTE at MSU (73.4 majors/TT FTE ) – more than double the MSU average (see figures at http://www.coe.montana.edu/me/faculty/june/misc/Enrollment_Data.png)! M&IE was recently awarded two new faculty positions, which we very much appreciate – but maintaining the quality product that led to this growth requires increased staff support as well. This proposal will fund necessary positions within the Department. Funds will be used to (1) hire an office staff person to relieve overload of the existing office staff and complete tasks simply not being done currently; and (2) hire a laboratory success technician to support and maintain the Department’s numerous laboratory facilities.
Administrative Support Staff
The M&IE office staff is working under overload conditions. Consider the overtime hours of Terry Kennedy, senior administrative associate (see figure at http://www.coe.montana.edu/me/faculty/june/misc/Admin_Overtime.png). This huge increase is an untenable situation.
To address this problem, an additional 0.5 FTE, ten-month administrative support position is being proposed to augment the existing clerical staff in M&IE. The existing staff includes: (1) 1.0 FTE Administrative Associate III, (2) 1.0 FTE Administrative Associate II, (3) 0.75 Administrative Associate II, and (4) 1.0 FTE Accounting Associate III.
The additional half-time role description would include responsibilities currently residing in the AA positions (1) and (2) above. The shift of duties would serve to reduce overloads in those two positions. It is envisioned that transferred duties would include:
Laboratory Technician (Laboratory Success Technician) Duties/Responsibilities
Instructional personnel resources can typically be increased as enrollment increases; however the lab facilities that are crucial to a high level of interactive learning of advanced technical skills are limited, so lab section enrollment cannot be simply increased unless the demands on the lab facility, lab equipment, lab safety, and skilled personnel to setup and maintain the lab is fully accounted for. The laboratory based courses have grown to the upper limit of sustainability with current equipment and methods as demonstrated by lab classes consistently enrolling to capacity with remaining waitlisted students. Over the last four academic years, the number of M&IE lab sections has increased by 50% to a record high 73 this AY (see figure at http://www.coe.montana.edu/me/faculty/june/misc/Cap_plot.png).
Despite continuously increasing the number of lab sections, the MIE department's unprecedented enrollment growth continues to result in enrollments beyond what current facilities and personnel can manage. (In this figure, the number of lab sections are plotted in blue, and the average enrollment as a percentage of the cap is plotted in red.) While this enrollment data demonstrates substantial limitations, it underestimates the size of the problem, as scheduling conflicts often prohibit students from taking lab sections despite lecture availability. The error bars indicate the upper range of cap values demonstrating that despite adding sections, we are still enrolled beyond capacity. The dashed line is at capacity indicating that even the average lab sizes are approaching capacity. The effects of these limitations are slower times to graduation, particularly if students fail a capped course after having to wait at least a semester to enroll.
The laboratory based classes have a strong advantage in that student learning is definitely enhanced by the hands-on experience. To cut back on the laboratory experience because of rising enrollments coupled with limited lab facilities and lab support would be detrimental to the quality of education that has brought the MIE department to where it is. Additionally, the risk of catastrophic injury will increase dramatically with increased enrollment if those additional students are inadequately supervised.
Currently, faculty members must repair lab equipment themselves. This is problematic and inefficient for several reasons. One, faculty members often have little training in equipment repair, thus requiring longer repair times than a skilled technician. Two, the lack of training may actually make the problem worse. Third, faculty members have other pressing responsibilities, such as knowledge generation and dissemination.
|Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal|
This project will directly impact undergraduate STEM education in mechanical engineering, mechanical engineering technology, and industrial engineering. It will also impact graduate programs in mechanical engineerin. This proposal also supports the “MSU Strategic Plan”. Specifically:
Implementation of this plan will help ensure that the facilities are available to accommodate the quality education expected from Montana State University Department of M&IE.
Within the first year of hire we will assess the program progress and accomplishments in the following ways:
Student satisfaction survey: a survey of student satisfaction with M&IE labs and office support will be conducted before the hiring of the two requested positions to provide a baseline for comparison with survey results after hire. Results will be reviewed by the M&IE leadership team.
Equipment R&R plan: The development of an equipment repair and replacement plan is a high priority for M&IE. Completion of a valid report is an important outcome of this hire and will be assessed by the department leadership team.
|If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?|
We do not plan to fail. We are confident that making the right hires and then providing the necessary mentoring will assure success in the long run. However, both positions are terminable if necessary and freshh hires could be made.
|Department Head:||Chris Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|Dean/Director:||Brett Gunnink (email@example.com)|
|Executive/VP:||Martha Potvin (firstname.lastname@example.org)|