Industry-driven innovation spurs student success


Erica Welter/The Lion's Roar

The Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology prepares students for industry through hands-on learning.

The Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology offers students hands-on training, an industry-driven curriculum and the opportunity to earn two degrees offered nowhere else in the region.

Dr. Priyadarshini Dasgupta, assistant professor of Occupational Safety, Health and Environment, described the department as unique because it focuses on field-based subjects.

“We deal with the real world implementation of equipment, solutions, tools and risk mitigation technologies,” said Dasgupta.

According to Dr. Mohammad Saadeh, head of the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology, the curriculum is driven by interactions with industrial partners.

“We bring them in here every fall to discuss all of these plans that we have, where we should be going and what kind of skill set they’re looking for because the industry is always ahead of academia,” shared Saadeh. “So, we talk to them about what is needed right now, and we can immediately adapt.”

Adapting to industry needs prompted the department to add a concentration in welding.

Saadeh explained, “If you run a search, you find maybe five in the nation that offer four-year degrees in welding, and we received a one million dollar donation a year ago from Performance Contractors to renovate Anzalone Hall to become the welding center.”

Firms regularly contact the department seeking candidates to fill needed positions.

Saadeh said, “The economy is picking up, and there is constantly need, emails constantly coming to us asking for interns, asking for part-time and full-time employees, and they happen at a rate that sometimes we do not have enough students, or our students are already picked up.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects little or no change to the demand for industrial engineering technicians from 2016 to 2026. In the same period, overall growth for drafters is projected at seven percent, though this may fluctuate based on location and specialty.

The median salary for students who graduated in December of 2018 was $52,000.

Dasgupta explained how the department prepares its students for their jobs.

“We arrange site visits and offer the real world ready classes to prepare the students for real world,” shared Dasgupta. “We also invite guest speakers from different industries to share their expertise to the students.”

Zachary Guy, a senior engineering technology major, likes the courses offered by the department.

“These courses are designed to give you experiences that will actually be applicable to future jobs and career opportunities,” said Guy. “The hands-on labs have been great. It is one thing to read about it in a book, or to listen to a professor lecture on a topic, but when you get to physically see and do what you have been learning – you cannot beat that.”

William Campbell, a senior OSHE major, believes the department’s hands-on training helped prepare him for a future in the industry.

“The hands-on labs have helped me, especially with my industrial hygiene courses,” explained Campbell. “There are numerous pieces of equipment involved with industrial hygiene work, and having the opportunity to place your hands on the devices and actually use them for their intended purposes provides an ideal learning experience.”

Candace Amos, a senior OSHE major, feels her professors have inspired her to work hard toward her goals.

“All my professors, in the OSHE department specifically, have been helpful because they genuinely want to see the students succeed,” shared Amos. “From just being in my classes, I can tell that they are passionate about what they do and want to prepare students to go out and be successful and competent professionals after graduation.”