Southern offers new degree

Jessica MacIntosh

Making its way to Missouri Southern, the industrial engineering technology becomes a degree.

“Industrial engineering technologies are the people that are educated in improving processes and systems,” said Elke Howe, assistant professor of CADD, CAMT and MIMS. “It’s all about making things better, which is important with this day and age.”

“It’s about improving efficiency,” said Donald Schultz, instructor of CAMT.

Howe said other disciplines like engineering and technology focus on designing products or building machines, but with the industrial engineering technologies, people are “specifically trained toward improvement.”

“If a company wants to stay competitive, they have to continuously improve their processes and systems,” she said.

Howe said through a survey, local industries were asked if they needed people with in that specific area.

“They reported back to us that they would love to see people with that kind of background,” she said.

The local industries looked at universities in the area, as well.

“Nobody offered industrial engineering technology,” Howe said.

Howe said there is one other university in Missouri that offers this degree.

“They petitioned after us,” she said. “They just started, too.”

She said there was a need for the industrial engineering technology degree.

“We filled that need,” Howe said.

Students learn to apply theories in this degree.

“They don’t just learn the theories,” Howe said. “They get to apply them on the machines and also on projects.”

The students have the chance to work on projects with the industries, which Howe said it is “special.”

“There are several tasks where that’s incorporated where we go and work with people in the industry on improving a system,” she said.

She said students can put this experience on their résumés.

Students can receive a specific certification while they are in the program called Six Sigma, in either green or black belt.

Howe said it makes the degree special and sets it off from other universities.

“That’s a certification that will give our students the competitive edge when they go out in the job market,” she said. “One more thing that helps them get a job and be successful.”

Schultz said there is another aspect that sets the degree apart from others – the hands-on experience.

“We feel that is a major part of what we want to incorporate into this degree,” he said.

Howe said the degree is official, but specific classes are not being offered.

“We start offering them next semester,” she said. “It will be in the schedule books for the first time next semester.”

Howe said the degree is great for students and the local industry.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s a wonderful degree. Learning how to improve systems and processes, that applies to so many potential employers.”

She said this degree can help build on people who have backgrounds in manufacturing, nursing and business.

“Those tools we teach,” Howe said. “They can even help in your personal life. I am real happy we have it.”

Schultz said he is thrilled.

“I think that it’s going to be wonderful for everybody,” he said. “The local companies are excited; we’re excited.”