Cal Poly Pomona

P&R Responses for recommendation 50

Recommendation 50
Department Executive Graduate Council
Consensus Opinion 8 out of 8 faculty/staff : Con
Consensus Explanation The Executive Graduate Council opposes recommendation #50 from the Academic Programs P&R to discontinue the graduate program in Mechanical Engineering.

It would be very unusual for our Engineering College to not offer this program. Mechanical Engineering is arguably the most common engineering graduate program in the CSU system, being offered at 8 of the other 10 campuses that have engineering (Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, San Luis Obispo). The existence of so many programs clearly indicates that there are a large number of students interested in this kind of educational opportunity.

We have only been offering the program for 5 years, so it is premature to decide that it is not viable. The program currently has 21 students, with 13 having been admitted during the last academic year alone. In collaboration with Student Affairs, the Division of Academic Affairs has funded two new positions to help us grow our graduate programs and these people will be assisting the faculty in Mechanical Engineering with this process in the coming years.

There is considerable potential for growth of research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the presence of a graduate program will contribute to this growth by helping recruit new research-active faculty and providing graduate students to help with this research.

The University needs to grow its graduate programs and discontinuing a promising young graduate program will be counter-productive. Graduate students currently comprise only 5.8% of the students at Cal Poly Pomona. This is well below the CSU system median for the 2005-06 AY of 12%, with our campus ranking 18th out of the 21 campuses that have graduate programs.

Minority Opinion NA out of NA faculty/staff : NA
Minority Explanation

Recommendation 50
Department Mechanical Engineering
Consensus Opinion 30 out of 30 faculty/staff : Con
Consensus Explanation The Mechanical Engineering Department (by the consensus opinion of 30 faculty/staff out of 30 with 3 part time instructors not voicing any opinion) disagrees with the P&R Committee on recommendation 50 for discontinuance of the MSME Program.

The MSME Program is only 5 years old. After considerable effort, the Mechanical Engineering Department received approval for the MSME program in fall of 2002. Soon after, the university had a very significant budget crisis. The department believes in the program and made the conscious decision to keep the program alive, but not to grow the program until the budget situation improved. Initially, no effort was made to grow the program. Instead, the department only offered one class per quarter until increased funding became available. Now the department is staffing two graduate classes per quarter.

The P&R Committee based its recommendations upon sparse data indicating that the program only had 9 majors in fall 2005. Since that time, the number of majors has grown to 21, a growth of 133% in two years. We have not yet begun to advertise or try to grow the program. The Mechanical Engineering Department very much desires not only to keep, but to develop and improve the MSME program. (At the October 29, 2007 department meeting, the attendees voted unanimously to keep the MSME program.) The newer faculty members of the department are anxious to build on the foundation that has been laid. They will take the lead in developing program brochures, web site information, methods to “get the word out” about the MSME program and in attracting students into the program.

Two prominent industry managers as well as other industry board members have advised that our MSME program at Cal Poly Pomona is good for the University and local industry. At the November 16, 2007 ME Industry Advisory Committee meeting, the committee voted unanimously in favor of keeping and growing the MSME program. They indicated that the program will grow when word gets out that the program exists. They also agreed that the program is definitely valuable for the local engineering industry and they also suggested that we begin a marketing effort to Cal Poly Pomona alumni. Most Cal Poly Pomona BSME graduates currently work and then remain in the local area. Many are interested in improving their qualifications to gain promotion and salary increases. The MSME program is very attractive and convenient for them.

The P&R Committee recommendation does not create any new synergies nor reduce any redundancies. On the other hand, the recommendation has the possibility of actually increasing costs or decreasing current efficiencies (it will certainly save very little in resources). As an example, students in the MSME program take three required EGR math classes (ones taken by most engineering graduate students). In fall 2007, Dr. Chandra of the Electrical Engineering Department is teaching EGR 511. Out of a total enrollment of 24, 12 are MSME students. Another two are also enrolled in EGR 515. Without those students, other Engineering MS programs will become less efficient.

Enacting P&R Recommendation 50 will decrease opportunities for research and external funding for Mechanical Engineering faculty members. During new faculty searches, many candidates express interest in teaching in the graduate program as a way of maintaining their research interest. Being involved with, and teaching in the MSME program, will keep those faculty members current and interested in doing research, publishing, and supporting local industry through industrial research projects. These outside projects support faculty members and benefit students both financially and educationally.
Minority Opinion NA out of NA faculty/staff : NA
Minority Explanation

Recommendations not submitted through the forms are available in this folder. They mainly consist of Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat documents. If none were submitted for this recommendation, the folder will be empty.