Manufacturing and Industrial Technology students continually outscore peers on national certification tests

Tennessee Tech University's Manufacturing and Industrial Technology students continue to outscore other institutions on the National Association of Industrial Technology certification tests, attesting to the quality of preparation they are receiving through the program.

Since July 1999, TTU students in the Manufacturing and Industrial Technology program, part of TTU's College of Engineering, have outscored students at major universities on the NAIT tests given once a year that gauge readiness in four areas: 1) production, planning and control; 2) quality control; 3) safety; 4) management.

"Our graduates as a group ranked above average compared to students from nine other nationally recognized institutions including Central Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois State, Indiana State, North Carolina, Purdue, Texas Southern, San Jose State and the University of North Dakota," said Ahmed ElSawy, chairperson of the MIT program.

For the past three years, TTU has continually outscored its peers, improving their scores each time.

On the most recent certification test, TTU students scored a mean performance level of an impressive 96.78 compared to an average group score of the other institutions of 85.69. On a prior test, TTU students scored 90.93 compared to a mean score of 85.69 of all the other institutions averaged together. And in July 1999, when TTU scores started showing a marked improvement over other schools, TTU students scored an average score of 87.44 compared to 85.69.

Scoring well on tests doesn't just mean graduates are getting a good education -- they are also getting good jobs.

"In addition, the placement of our graduates was remarkably good with very competitive salaries ranking from $40,000 to $54,000 per year," ElSawy added.

The study of manufacturing and industrial technology at TTU essentially prepares students to move into the workforce and become leaders in the field of management, operation and maintenance of technological systems. For example, students learn how to work the machinery of a system and also how to budget its maintenance throughout the year.

"We really strive to give our students hands-on experience in the manufacturing process," said ElSawy.

"I like to think of MIT graduates as the 'doers' of engineering. With a background in business through our program, students can go on to become plant managers and have successful careers."

Also, MIT people provide a link between engineers and technicians, he explained.

"They understand engineering concepts, but have strong interpersonal skills and the knowledge and psychological ability to deal and communicate with front-line and shop workers," ElSawy said.

Those who study MIT usually have a passion for technology, but math and science are not their strengths.

"IT is 'engineering lite' and a 'business lite combo,'" ElSawy said. "We focus on the interdisciplinary relationship of the two without being too heavy on the math and science.

"Our graduates are not capable of designing, like an engineer, but they are capable of taking the design and implementing it -- they are the ones who make it happen."