Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



While many efforts have been made to improve technical and professional skills in engineering graduates, there has been little comprehensive change in the pedagogy of most engineering education institutions in the U.S. Many of these efforts involve changing only one or two aspects of the curriculum, and therefore are less likely to make significant changes in the student learning outcomes. For better success, engineering curricular changes will need to address the entire education system. In order to see real, sustainable improvement in engineering education practice, both the behaviors of the participants and the systems within which these participants act must have change. Changes in education practices are unlikely to develop and persist without concurrent and structural changes at the administrative level; thus this study focuses on understanding the activities of individuals during an administrative change. Further, this study highlights the importance of how change agents work with the various groups, or sub-cultures, within universities as well as the opportunity for leadership from the faculty and department chair ranks.

This study seeks to better understand the change management activities and opportunities that occurred as the Iron Range Engineering program was developed and implemented. Iron Range Engineering (IRE) is a two-year, project-based program that allows students with two-year college degrees to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering. The program is a partnership between a community college and a state university, separated geographically by several hundred miles. The program takes place at the community college, targeting students in that part of the state and responding to the needs of local industries. Because of the complex nature of the institutional partnership, as well as the project-based, team-focused emphasis, the program serves as an innovative model for engineering education.


Integrated Engineering