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EM program reboots as Technical Management Institute

Participants in the former Engineering Management program discuss supply-chain management during a class

Participants in the former Engineering Management program discuss supply-chain management during a class in the Krannert Center for Executive Education and Research. The program will be reintroduced this fall as the Technical Management Institute. (Photo by Vicki Maris)

Continuing education isn't a recreational choice for technical managers. It is a necessity, born of a world in which the half-life of engineering knowledge stands at two years. The problem is finding time to learn.

The rapid pace of technological change is matched by the rapid pace of life. This is where Purdue's new Technical Management Institute comes in. The short-course program, known for 22 years as the Engineering Management (EM) program, offers those who are new to a management role or to managing technical workers a condensed way to sharpen their skills.

The institute, which is a collaborative effort between the Krannert School of Management and the College of Engineering, used to spread across a workweek, with classes meeting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new incarnation, which debuts in October on the West Lafayette campus, will run Wednesday afternoon through midday Saturday, with sessions meeting during the day and in the evenings.

The result is a program that is shorter but more intense, with a pared-down curriculum focusing on topics that participants in previous years indicated were most important.

"We looked for similar university programs and found that very few offer the kind of overview for managers found in our Technical Management Institute," says Alan Ferrell, director of Krannert's Executive Education Programs. "Participants are exposed to processes like Lean Six Sigma and the latest project management tools.

"They also look at three areas of great importance in the larger organization: finance, leadership, and the product development cycle," he adds. "New and aspiring managers from technical and non-technical backgrounds will benefit greatly from this package."

Vickie Maris, director of professional development programs for Engineering Professional Education in the College of Engineering, calls the institute a "very condensed version of going back to college." Instructors are drawn from both within and outside the University. This has the added benefit of offering participants who are considering returning to Krannert for an MBA or executive MBA a chance to sample faculty teaching styles.

The program draws around 50 participants from Indiana and across the country. They come from disciplines including IT, health care, manufacturing, engineering design, and banking.

"One of the things we strive for is a positive impact on our local community and state as well as our global community," Maris says. "Engaging learners throughout their lives within evolving learning environments is such an important role for the University to play."

— By Linda Thomas Terhune