Montana State University
MSU STRATEGIC INVESTMENT PROPOSAL FOR INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES
PROPOSAL OVERVIEW
TitleManaging Large Enrollments in M&IE – Administrative and Laboratory Support Request Date2012-11-30
DepartmentMechanical & Industrial Engineering Emailcjenkins@me.montana.edu
RequestorChris Jenkins Phone994-2203
INSTITUTIONAL BENEFIT
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
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.
TIMEFRAME
Proposed Dates Start: ebruay 1 2013 End:  
PROPOSAL SUMMARY
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.
STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT
• 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;
Salaries       50000      1.5 
Benefits       17094       
Materials & Supplies          
Travel          
Contracted Services            
Capital              
Other Operations              
TOTAL 67094    1.5 
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

The numbers above represent the totals for two positions:

  • One 0.5 FTE Administrative Assistant:  salary = $10,000. benefits = $4,294
  • One 1.0 FTE Lab Technician: salary = $40,000, benefits = $12,800

Total Base = $67,094

Request Total:  $67,094

PROPOSAL SCOPE
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:

  • Managing inquiries and applications to graduate programs in ME and I&ME.
  • Coordinating scheduling and arrangements for faculty retreats, which occur in August and January.
  • Maintaining current knowledge of ME, IE, and MET student populations and presenting nominations for honors and awards during December – March.
  • Assuming responsibility for scholarship application process, working with designated faculty to provide insight and guide decisions.
  • Serving as liaison between the department and the Industrial Advisory Board, making all arrangements for catering, room scheduling, student interactions, and individual board member accommodations.
  • Assuming introductory-level support for transfer student coursework data entry.
  • Providing support to AA III for course scheduling data entry.
  • Assisting with restricted entry course applications and wait list management for courses that fill beyond capacity during August/September, November/December, and March/April.
  • Conveying announcements, opportunities, and deadline notices to focused groups of ME, IE, and MET student populations.
  • Providing support for cyclical processes as they occur throughout the academic year.

Duty

Who Does It Now

Benefit

Managing inquiries and applications to graduate programs in ME and I&ME.

1.0     AA II

Campbell

Allows current AA to focus more attention on undergrad inquiries and heavy walk-in traffic.

Coordinating scheduling and arrangements for faculty retreats, which occur in August and January.

1.0     AA III

Kennedy

Shifts overload from AA III.  Retreats necessary to accomplish effective coordination between the three undergrad programs.

Maintaining current knowledge of ME, IE, and MET student populations and presenting nominations for honors and awards during December – March.

1.0     AA III

Kennedy

Shifts overload from AA III.    Will allow for more advance work, in identifying most qualified students for special recognition and honors.

Assuming responsibility for scholarship application process, working with designated faculty to provide insight and guide decisions.

1.0     AA II

Campbell

Allows current AA to keep pace with expanding student records management.  Will provide time for more advance work in reviewing all information presented and identifying the most qualified students for scholarships.

Serving as liaison between the department and the Industrial Advisory Board, making all arrangements for catering, room scheduling, student interactions, and individual board member accommodations.

1.0     AA III

Kennedy

Shifts overload from AA III.  Service to IAB activity contributes to the departmental objective of maintaining responsiveness to industry and accreditation of all three undergraduate programs.

Assuming introductory-level support for transfer student coursework data entry.

1.0     AA III

Kennedy

Provides assistance to AA III in initial treatment of transfer coursework  for growing numbers of transfer students.

Providing support for course scheduling data entry.

1.0     AA III

Kennedy

Provides assistance to AA III in entering updated course scheduling data specific to each academic tem. 

Assisting with restricted entry course applications and wait list management for courses that fill beyond capacity during August/September, November/December, and March/April.

1.0     AA III

Kennedy

1.0     AA II

Campbell

.75 AA II

Andersen

Provides support for addressing student demand that exceeds course capacities.   Provides support for screening restricted entry applications from students who request admission to courses with focused constraints.

Conveying announcements, opportunities, and deadline notices to focused groups of ME, IE, and MET student populations.

1.0     AA II

Campbell

.75 AA II

Andersen

Allows for greater capability to inform students of impending deadlines, special announcements, and internship and permanent job opportunities.

Providing support for cyclical processes as they occur throughout the academic year.

1.0     AA III

Kennedy

1.0     AA II

Campbell

.75 AA II

Andersen

Will provide additional support for processes including applications for degree, advising and registration for the upcoming term, assisting and directing new students during orientations and at the beginning of the term, answering student questions and knowing where to refer for additional help.

 

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.

Laboratory Technician Duties

Personnel now Responsible

Support all M&IE Laboratory Courses;

  • Manufacturing and Joining Labs
  • Instrumentation Lab
  • Materials Lab
  • Computer Integrated Manufacturing Lab
  • Ergonomics Lab

And aid in learning of principles and theories introduced in the classroom through the hands on application of those principle in the learning laboratory environment, by the following means and activities:

Faculty

Operate , repair , and maintain laboratory equipment

Faculty

Monitor and organize inventory of lab apparatus and develop an inventory control plan

Faculty/GTAs

Prepare equipment for laboratory instructional use and work with multiple instructors to ensure that equipment and materials are available and scheduled for sharing of equipment

Faculty/GTAs

Assist the instructors in some critical laboratory exercises where safety and technical competence require additional personnel

GTAs

Develop a repair and replacement schedule as well as maintain calibration of instrumentation

(no one)

Provide general maintenance on all laboratory equipment and implement a preventative maintenance program

Faculty

Provide supervision of student workers during laboratory open shop hours, and capstone use of manufacturing and instrumentation lab equipment, and monitor safety compliance

Faculty / GTAs

Serve as a resource for implementing new lab exercises

Faculty

Aid in preparation of proposals for new equipment (EFAC and other sources)

Faculty



 
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:

  • Objective A.1: Educate more students while maintaining the quality of programs
  • Objective D.2: Enhance infrastructure in support of research, discovery, and creative activities
  • Objective E.1: Strategically increase service, outreach, and engagement at MSU
  • Objective I.1: Increase the integration of learning, discovery and engagement
  • Objective L.2: Increase graduation rates at MSU
  • Objective S.1: Human Resources, Attract, develop and retain the best faculty and staff to achieve the MSU mission.

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.

 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Implementation Plan

Administrative Staff

  • Immediately upon approval: Advertise the position
  • Six weeks after approval: staff person hired and in place
  • Mentors assigned: Terry Kennedy, Kathy Campbell

Laboratory Technician

  • Immediately upon approval: Advertise the position
  • Six weeks after approval: staff person hired and in place
  • Mentors assigned: Tom Jungst, Ron June
 
Assessment Plan

Assessment  Plan

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.


Injuries: Number of and severity of injuries will continue to be monitored.

 
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.

 
SIGNATURES
Department Head: Chris Jenkins (cjenkins@me.montana.edu)
Dean/Director: Brett Gunnink (bgunnink@ce.montana.edu)
Executive/VP: Martha Potvin (mpotvin@montana.edu)