Integration and synthesis of the industrial engineering curriculum via an unstructured problem solving course

Bryan A. Norman, Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Bopaya Bidanda, Kim La Scola Needy, Jayant Rajgopal

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh is addressing an important issue - how to develop a comprehensive, integrated curriculum that (1) is pedagogically sound, (2) thoroughly prepares graduating engineering students for industrial practice and graduate school, and (3) trains students to readily recognize and apply their engineering background to solve unstructured problems, both locally and beyond US borders. Beginning in September 2003 we embarked on an innovative approach to curriculum reform that contains four overarching objectives, namely (1) the integration of concepts across the curriculum; (2) teaching students to synthesize different concepts to solve unstructured problems; (3) providing problem solving methods and strategies within a societal framework that allows for their application within a local as well as a global context; and (4) creating a portable development methodology that can be readily adapted to other engineering disciplines. This paper reports on the development and implementation of a new course IE 1091 - Unstructured Problem Solving that was piloted in the Summer 2004 Semester. Faculty and student assessment of the course are reported and analyzed at three distinct periods - during the course, immediately upon completion of the course, and six months after completion of the course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8481-8489
Number of pages9
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2005
Event2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: The Changing Landscape of Engineering and Technology Education in a Global World - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 15 2005


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