Montana State University
MSU STRATEGIC INVESTMENT PROPOSAL FOR INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES
PROPOSAL OVERVIEW
TitleInterdisciplinary Graduate Program in Engineering Psychology Request Date2012-11-29
DepartmentPsychology and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Emailkhutch@montana.edu
RequestorKeith Hutchison Phone994-5528
INSTITUTIONAL BENEFIT
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts  
TIMEFRAME
Proposed Dates Start: June 1, 2013 End: August 15, 2013
PROPOSAL SUMMARY
The Department of Psychology and the Industrial Engineering Program (College of Engineering) are excited about a new interdisciplinary effort to develop a new graduate program in “Engineering Psychology,” a multidisciplinary science that has “practical relevance” by addressing significant societal issues such as safety, health, and sustainability. The curriculum will meet current accreditation requirements (www.hfes.org) based on a combination of existing courses from both departments and will be designed with the goal of securing external sponsorship to subsidize operating costs, fund students, and build a research-funded PhD program.
STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT
The proposed “Engineering Psychology” masters degree easily captures the primary goal of the strategic plan by increasing student learning, discovery, and engagement, and integration.

For learning, the master’s program will ensure that our graduates are learning the critical knowledge required by future employers [L1.1], which will then increase our graduate students’ job placement [L3.1]. The program will also both increase the number of graduate degrees awarded [L2.2] and increase the number of MSU undergraduates pursing a graduate degree [L3.2] by giving our undergraduates a more applied Master’s degree than the current degree being offered.
The demand for engineering psychologists is currently thriving because industries are realizing that involving psychologists in the design process helps final products be more functional and enjoyable to use. According to the American Psychological Association, “Engineering Psychology is increasingly employed in design and evaluation of medical instrumentation and processes, as well as forensic work involving product and workplace safety. Efforts are also directed toward improved techniques that monitor and enhance human performance in operational environments, and to develop countermeasures that will reduce fatigue-related performance changes in humans operating in a 24-hour society. Opportunities exist and are constantly expanding in all major employer groups: government, not-for-profit institutions, consulting firms, private industry, and academic institutions. For example, government work areas include the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, National Aviation and Space Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, among others. Salaries are competitive with those of engineers and other professionals who work in similar settings.”

For discovery, the program will help elevate MSU faculty’s national and international prominence in research, creativity, innovation, and scholarly achievement. This joint program will help merge interdisciplinary research interests and programs among Psychology and Engineering faculty, creating an infrastructure [D.2] that helps our faculty become more competitive for external funding [D 2.1.-D2.2.] and will attract and help retain faculty of national and international recognition [D.1.1].
There is already symmetry in interests between researchers in the Psychology and Engineering departments. For example, Associate Professor Keith Hutchison (Psychology) does basic research on quantifying the cognitive capabilities and limitations of young and old demographic groups. Related to this, Professor Nicholas Ward (Industrial Engineering) designs transportation technologies for use by these same demographic groups. Thus, a graduate program in Engineering Psychology would serve as a natural integrator of such compatible research interests. In addition this proposed graduate program is intrinsically linked to the technology design and development industries. It is therefore expected that this commercial links will provide sponsorship and research funds for the program consistent with the specific MSU goals: “strategic addition of graduate programs to meet workforce needs and research opportunities; and innovative partnerships and financing to build modern facilities and a competitive research infrastructure”.

For engagement, the program is designed to teach students how to “apply their knowledge for the improvement of society,” thus increasing service, outreach, and engagement [E.1]. Individual thesis projects will be designed to address current societal issues and improve human quality of life. This will provide each student with an engagement experience during their time at MSU [E.1.4]. Part of this experience includes researching and assessing current societal needs such as “highway safety” and proposing a project to address this need such as simulating difficult road conditions or driver’s risky behavior. Once completed, students can use their projects to educate those in the community and potentially improve the lives of Montanans, thus supporting the overall MSU vision of “civil responsibility.”

For integration, the description of each student’s project provides a good example of integrating learning, discovery, and engagement [I.1.1]. In addition, this cross-disciplinary graduate program between Psychology and Industrial Engineering will obviously increase work across disciplines [I.2], increase the number of students completing interdisciplinary programs [I.2.1], and increase interdisciplinary research and creative projects on campus [I.2.2]. In fact, the program will explicitly require all research thesis/projects to be interdisciplinary, with committee members included from both departments.
COST AND REQUIREMENTS
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Salaries 19058             
Benefits 6230             
Materials & Supplies              
Travel 23890             
Contracted Services              
Capital              
Other Operations              
TOTAL 49178     
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

The requested budget includes 1 month of summer salary for both Dr. Keith Hutchison and Dr. Nic Ward to develop the proposal for board of regents approval as well as travel expenses for each to attend three Engineering Psychology conferences and two site visits to accredited programs to help guide the design of the proposed graduate degree program and BOR application documentation.

PROPOSAL SCOPE
Describe the Proposal

The proposal has three components:

  1. Staff time for the lead faculty of the Psychology department and Industrial Engineering program to develop the application for the new degree program that will be submitted to the BOR.
  2. Travel expenses for the lead faculty of the Psychology department and Industrial Engineering program to attend relevant conferences on the design and administration of degree programs in Engineering Psychology.
  3. Travel expenses for the lead faculty of the Psychology department and Industrial Engineering program to make site visits to universities with similar accredited programs in Engineering Psychology in order to develop our competitive niche in this area field.

Program Development

The lead faculty of the Psychology department and Industrial Engineering program will collaborate to develop the new degree program policy and curriculum as well as do the necessary background research (e.g., market need, competing programs) to develop the application for the new degree program that will be submitted to the BOR.

The estimated budget is $49,178.

Conferences

The purpose of attending these conferences is to provide the faculty of the Psychology department and Industrial Engineering program with the state of the art knowledge about the learning objectives and instructions methods to develop a modern and flexible curriculum:

Each conference attendance is estimated to cost $2,830 in travel expenses (including airfare, per diem, hotel, and registration for a three day conference).  The amounts to a total of approximately $8,500 for single attendance to all three identified conferences.

Site Visits

The APA Division (21) for Applied Psychology and Engineering Psychology only six recognized graduate programs in Engineering Psychology that are also accredited by HFES (see Table 2).  Note:  numbers in brackets represented reported number of applicants last year, number of students entering the program last year, and total number of MS/PHD graduates in past three years.

Table 2.  List of APA Recognized Engineering Psychology Graduate Programs that are accredited by the HFES.

Clemson University (81, 4, 19): Psychology
http://www.clemson.edu/psych

http://www.hfes.org/web/Students/gradschools/clemson.html

 

Georgia Tech (25, 3, 19): Psychology
http://www.psychology.gatech.edu/

http://www.hfes.org/web/Students/gradschools/georgiatech.html

 

North Carolina State (42, 5, 12): Psychology (with Industrial Engineering)
http://psychology.chass.ncsu.edu/psg/

http://www.hfes.org/web/Students/gradschools/northcarolinastatepsych.html

 

Texas Tech University (28, 3, 12): Psychology (with Industrial Engineering)
http://www.depts.ttu.edu/psy/graduate_programs/experimental_general_information/Overview.php

http://www.hfes.org/web/Students/gradschools/texastechpsych.html

 

University of Central Florida (42, 10, 20): Psychology
http://www.psych.ucf.edu/graduate_degrees_hfphd.php

http://www.hfes.org/web/Students/gradschools/ucentralflorida.html

 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (4-8, 4, 25): Aviation Human Factors Division, Department of Psychology, and Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
http://www.hfes.org/web/Students/gradschools/uillinoisurbana.html

http://www.hfes.org/web/Students/gradschools/uillinoisurbana.html

 

The majority of these accredited programs (4) are located in the South Atlantic region.  The East North Central and West South Central regions each have one accredited program.  There are no HFES accredited Engineering Psychology graduate programs in any western state with the exception of Texas (Texas Tech).  The Pacific, Mountain, and West North Central regions have no university with an accredited graduate program in Engineering Psychology.

Thus, based on limited number and geographic restriction of recognized and accredited graduate programs, there appears to be a significant opportunity for a new program in Engineering Psychology at MSU that could serve the educational demand within the Pacific and Mountain state regions.  For example, the existing Engineering Psychology programs – on average (median) – only accept about 12% of student applicants (Table 2).   This implies that there are many students each year (approximately 200) from these few programs alone that would be seeking an alternative program.  Indeed, it is expected that the accreditation of this program would draw even more students from non-accredited programs in surrounding regions.

Each conference attendance is estimated to cost $1,714 in travel expenses (including airfare, per diem, hotel, and registration for a three day conference).  The amounts to a total of $6,856 for single attendance to four of the six identified sites.

 

 


 
Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

The broader impacts of this proposal are that they support MSU’s strategic plan objectives of increasing learning, discovery, engagement, and integration, while also fulfilling MSU’s vision of “civil responsibility.” These impacts are discussed at length in the “strategic alignment” section of this proposal and won’t be repeated here, except to add that this Master’s program will hopefully lead to an eventual joint PhD program in Engineering Psychology.  Such a program would increase the number of doctoral degrees awarded [L.2.2], increase student opportunities after graduation and increase job placement [L.3.1]. Aside from the obvious benefits to students, these advantages will also improve MSU’s rank among Carnegie Classified Research Universities [D.1.3].

 

 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Implementation Plan

Given the nature of this proposal – namely, to provide staff support and travel expenses to support the development of a new graduate program – the implementation plan is mostly based on a timeline to prepare the program application documents for the November 21-22, 2013 meeting of the BOR. 

  • Conference Attendance: March to August
    • March 6-8: 7th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices.
    • July 21-26: 10th International Conference on Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics.
    • July 31-Aug 4: Midyear symposium of the APA Division 21 (Experimental and Engineering Psychology).
  • Site Visits: May to June
    • May: Choose sites and schedule visits
    • June: Visit 4 out of the six possible sites
  • Proposal Development: May to August
    • May: initial board of regents draft by May 31.
    • June: Revise draft based on site visits and discussions regarding curriculum, project/thesis requirements, guidelines, GTA/GRE responsibilities, etc…
    • July: Revise draft based on continued discussions and conferences.
    • August: Prepare final draft for board of regents November 21-22 meeting.
 
Assessment Plan

Given the nature of this proposal – namely, to provide staff support and travel expenses to support the development of a new graduate program – the assessment plan is based on the successful development and submission of program application documents for the November 21-22, 2013 meeting of the BOR. 

 
If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

If the program application documents are not ready in time for the November 21-22, 2013 meeting of the BOR, we will target the January 9-10, 2014 meeting.

 
SIGNATURES
Department Head: Colleen Moore (colleen.moore1@montana.edu)
Dean/Director: Paula Lutz (plutz@montana.edu)
Executive/VP: Tom Mccoy (tommccoy@montana.edu)