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New STEM degree track helps global organizations during COVID-19 and beyond

by Monica Smith

Jun 17, 2020, 9:00 AM.

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Master’s degree in engineering management: Quality engineering and management track launches online to provide more quality professionals to close the employment gap.

Improved efficiency and processes have never been more important than now during the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 reminds us that no organization is immune to potential threats. Equally important, many organizations are faced with an employee shortage and lack the expertise needed to help manage quality and resilience.

To help close the employment gap, FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing has launched a new, fully online, 30-credit hour engineering management master’s degree track in quality engineering and management.

“With education, health care and financial industries in flux, because of the global coronavirus pandemic, many organizations are looking for leaders to help find solutions,” says Chin-Sheng Chen, online program director of FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing. “This master’s degree track offers learners the tools to help address these needs and improve processes and systems to assure a high-quality product or service.”

Improve systems

Whether they want to work in large or small firms, the master’s program equips learners with the discernment to adapt and improve the shifting environment within many sectors, asserts professor for the College of Engineering & Computing, Karen Schmahl, who spearheads the new quality engineering and management track within the MSEM program. 

“Our quality management program provides students with the tools they need to make ethical and sound decisions for our time and foster innovation and growth for global organizations,” says Schmahl. This spring, students will have the ability to do it completely online.

Coronavirus a disrupter

Trends indicate that COVID-19 has forever changed the way manufacturers and other organizations do business. In specific, collaboration across industries is now a norm and alliances between government, the private sector, manufacturers, as well as health care, have converged like never before. 

The driving forces behind these trends are vast, but at the core, data tells the stories. The analytics show that partnerships may offer best-case scenarios. Quality professionals are needed to find and interpret these innovations, identify collaborations and initiate interventions to help support the country and make organizations resilient, explains Schmahl.

“Both supply and demand have been disrupted,” she says. “How organizations respond with quality engineering management will determine their success both in the short- and long-term. 

Valuable training

In addition to being 100 percent online, the program prepares students with Total Quality Management training to acquire Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Project Management Professional certifications.

Beyond the certifications, courses within the program offer students the ability to develop and implement solutions that have an organization-wide impact. Students have the opportunity to learn and apply contemporary technology to the industry.

Technology, data and people

“This is extremely important now more than ever,” states Chen, who explains that organizations that understand how to meet the current needs and anticipate those of the future will drive business and help the economy recover. Quality engineering managers have the ability to see the bigger picture, analyze the data, adjust internal processes, apply contemporary technology, and understand how to shape an organization’s culture with the people needed to support changes, he describes.

“Quality engineering managers solve problems and provide much needed leadership,” he says. “There is a high demand for these types of professionals in every business sector and job prospects are excellent.”

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