A dual bachelor’s degree in multinational engineering management is under development to be offered next fall by NJIT in partnership with a consortium of universities from the United States and the European Union. With grant support of $416,000 over four years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) and an equal grant from the European Union, the program will prepare students for leadership roles in the global marketplace.
According to Layek Malek, NJIT professor of industrial engineering and director of the program, the program expects to enroll a first class of 12 students at both the U.S. and E.U. campuses in September 2011. NJIT is the lead American institution, while the University of Parma, Italy, leads the European effort. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and the University of Extremadura in Spain are also partners.
Malek said that the program will emphasize industrial engineering, supply chain management and operations management, along with intensive language training and cultural exposure. U.S. students will spend 12 months of the four-year program in Italy and Spain, while European students will spend a year at NJIT or Rutgers. In addition, he said, students will have an unusual opportunity for specific, real-world experience particularly in the arenas of international food production and food processing industry.
“Parma is famous throughout the world for its food industry, especially its exports of parmesan cheese and prosciutto di Parma (Italian ham),” he said. “The university has developed a mechanical engineering program in food industry, and has many corporate partners in every phase of the food supply chain, from food manufacturing and processing, to packaging and transportation. A number of these companies will offer internship opportunities to students in the program.”
Ten Italian-based companies have joined the consortium: CFT (food technology), Lombardini Motori s.r.l. (engines for agriculture and industry), OCME (packaging and filling), Centro Padano Interscambio Merci (logistics and transportation), Argo Tractors S.p.A., Plasmon (a company of the Heinz Group), Corghi S.p.A. (industrial machinery), Promag S.p.A. (storage equipment and systems), GEA-Procomac S.p.A. (bottling and packaging) and Dallara Automobili (automotive industry).
Malek noted that Rutgers has a valuable food resource research program that would complement the Parma connection. The program could involve the university's Center for Advanced Food Technology, which includes a food development and manufacturing facility and conducts research in such areas as nanotechnology applications to food; functional food; food safety and defense; and food ingredient technology.
He said that the involvement of Rutgers School of Engineering also expands the course offerings available to students. NJIT offers expertise in quality and reliability engineering; cost engineering; human factors engineering/ergonomics; and production and manufacturing systems. Rutgers brings additional expertise in systems engineering, quality and reliability engineering, and information technology. The University of Extremadura also has a well-established program in industrial engineering as well as a long history of seamless partnership with Parma.
"This program will provide American students with skills to compete in the global job market," said Hoang Pham, chair of industrial and systems engineering at Rutgers and co-director of this program. "By spending a year studying and working in Europe, they will gain valuable familiarity with different academic cultures and industrial environments."
Students in the program will pay the tuition to their home university. The FIPSE grant provides scholarship funding and travel support for students as well as for program faculty. Faculty will visit the other facilities to provide language and cultural tutorials to students before they travel abroad, as well as for project coordination and monitoring.
“Students who graduate from this program will be highly sought-after by multinational enterprises,” Malek said. “They will be well-prepared to work as part of an international workforce with advanced language skills and cultural awareness as well as industrial experience in a transnational setting. And the option for complete immersion in a specific industry – in this case, the food supply chain – is very unusual for an undergraduate degree program. Students who aspire to a career in multinational companies and food industries will definitely have a head start.”
Students will be selected for the program based on academic credentials; motivation, as determined by an interview; and demonstrated language skills. For more information, contact Professor Layek Malek, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-973-596-3648.