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ISD has a rich, long history; officially named in 2013

  • 1937 CoE begins offering short courses
  • Mid 1950s Dean G.G. Brown, Dean Harold Dorr, and Professor Donald Katz begin to offer summer courses
  • 1969 Michigan Engineering Television Network begins to enable faculty to offer credit courses to students at industry sites in Southeast Michigan
  • 1991 CoE joins a new consortium of peer engineering schools, the National Technological University
  • 1993 Program in Manufacturing becomes CoE’s first interdisciplinary academic program
  • 1995 Center for Professional Development (CPD) was established and  partners with General Motors, and CoE launches a Master of Engineering in Automotive Engineering (MEngAE)
  • 1998 CPD wins the worldwide responsibility for GM’s manufacturing master’s programs
  • 2001 CPD obtains awards to support workforce development
  • 2005 CoE establishes the Master of Engineering in Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (M. Eng. in GAME) 
  • 2006 CoE creates InterPro by merging Interdisciplinary Graduate Degree Programs with CPD, and establishes the Interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program in Design Science
  • 2007 CoE establishes Master of Energy Systems Engineering (ESE)
  • 2008 CDP renamed the Manufacturing Engineering Program (MEP) 
  • October 2012 CoE proposes creation of Integrative Systems + Design (ISD) to replace InterPro and take over interdisciplinary and professional education comprising three activities: Teaching and delivery of professional master degree programs including MEng, MS (Financial Engineering), DEng (Manufacturing) and PhD (Design Science); offering short courses through the Center for Professional Development (CPD); and video lecture capture and online delivery technologies and their implementation in course production for both degree programs and non-credit program
  • December 2012 CoE faculty formally approve ISD
  • July 2013 U-M Regents formally approve ISD and Dr. Panos Papalambros
    begins as ISD Chair
  • 2014 CoE launches a Master of Science in Design Science degree and establishes Systems Engineering + Design 
  • 2018 Dr. Diann Brei begins as ISD Chair 

ISD Through the Years

Integrative Systems + Design (ISD) is a division in the University of Michigan (U-M) College of Engineering (CoE). ISD was created as a formal instructional unit following approval by CoE faculty in December 2012 and the Regents in July 2013. 

The division replaced the existing Michigan Interdisciplinary and Professional Engineering (InterPro) organization to provide a strong academic and intellectual focus to CoE’s interdisciplinary instructional activities with emphasis on engineered systems and design. As an academic unit, ISD meets the College’s pedagogical needs for study programs in systems and design that cross disciplinary boundaries and build upon existing departmental strengths. 

ISD builds on Michigan’s long tradition in interdisciplinary education and access to students beyond the Ann Arbor campus through six pre-eminent graduate programs: 

  • Automotive Engineering (MEng)
  • Design Science (MS, PhD)
  • Energy Systems Engineering (MEng)
  • Manufacturing Engineering (MEng and DEng)
  • Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (MEng)
  • Systems Engineering + Design (MEng)

Academic Excellence

ISD faculty include professors of practice, PRS with instructional interests, LEOs, and instructional faculty with joint appointments. Tenure resides at existing home departments and joint appointments typically range in 25-50 percent effort and include ISD instructional and service responsibilities.

ISD offers a large number of short courses for non-credit students integrated in addition to its degree granting programs. The short courses and concentration certificates serve as pre-degree introductions as well as post-degree continuing education venues. The short course offerings have their origin in the CoE Center for Professional Development that was also integrated within ISD.

1930s-1995: The Early Years and Early Distance Learning 

The origins of ISD start with the Center for Professional Development (CPD), which was composed of three units that had operated separately in previous years: 

  • Engineering Short Courses
  • Michigan Engineering Television Network
  • Conferences and Liaison group of the Institute for Science and Technology (IST).

CoE has offered short courses since 1937. In the mid-1950s, summer programs were developed by Dean G.G. Brown, Dean Harold Dorr of the Summer Session, and Professor Donald Katz. The College has conducted summer offerings consistently since then, enrolling more than 65,000 people in more than 1,500 courses. In 1967, the 40,000 square foot Chrysler Center was constructed for short course operations, including administrative offices for a Director and a staff of six. Although CoE began its migration to North Campus shortly thereafter, only short courses and conferences were held in the building until 1995.

Michigan Engineering Television Network (METN, formerly Instructional Television) began in 1969 to enable faculty to offer credit courses to students at industry sites in Southeast Michigan. The system was based on a live microwave transmission of classroom video with a two-way audio connection between two West Engineering classrooms and remote sites. This activity flourished in the 1970s, with more than 300 students enrolling in graduate courses each term. Although the number of courses offered this way typically exceeded 15 per semester, there were no clear plans to offer a degree path to remote students. For a variety of reasons, the number of courses and students enrolled in this manner dropped dramatically through the early 1980s, when METN moved to one classroom and a partially equipped studio on the ground floor of the Dow Building on North Campus. This space also included administrative offices for the staff of six:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Academic Secretary II
  • Technical Director
  • Technician
  • Production Director
  • Senior Video Operator

General funds were provided for these positions, along with a small operating budget for supplies. It was during this period in the early 1980s that institutions such as Purdue, Stanford, Columbia, and others began offering graduate programs via distance learning to companies that had previously worked more closely with U-M. 

In 1991, the College attempted to broaden METN’s scope by joining a relatively new consortium of peer engineering schools, the National Technological University (NTU). This included the purchase of a satellite uplink and a commitment to offer courses for which NTU would grant academic credit as a separate institution. By then, Michigan was enrolling as few as 15-30 students in two or three courses via distance learning each term, located primarily at General Motors sites. 

In 1995, the downward trend in off-campus enrollments was finally reversed as Michigan developed several new courses and course sequences with support from General Motors. Simultaneously, U-M began a dialogue with Ford that led to its support of the current MEng degree offering in Automotive Engineering to students at Ford locations, primarily in Southeast Michigan. The focus would now be on CoE’s MEng programs, with only minor consideration given to Michigan’s role in NTU.

This unit consisted of three people: a Director of Conferences and Liaison and two Program Coordinators. Before integrating with CPD, the group was part of the College’s Office of Technology Transfer, and before 1990, was a part of the Industrial Development Division from the University’s Institute for Science and Technology (IST). IST was being disbanded at that time, after serving 25 years as a home to much of the technology based interdisciplinary research at the University. 

The Industrial Development Division (IDD) conducted research and service programs designed to create employment by expanding and diversifying Michigan’s economy. The Division actively communicated with Michigan industry and government agencies through conferences, publications, and direct interaction with individual companies and industrial groups. It started and spun off several innovative programs, including the Michigan Technology Council and the Inventors’ Council of Michigan. The Conferences and Liaison group of IDD planned and conducted conferences in cooperation with government and industry on a wide range of topics related to technology and economic development. 

The Annual Growth Capital Symposium, hosted by the U-M Business School (now Ross School of Business), was started and coordinated initially by IDD, as was the internationally known U-M Management Briefing Seminars. The latter program was sponsored jointly by CPD and the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation at UMTRI. In 1992, the Automotive Laser Applications Workshop was developed at the urging of a retired General Motors Vice President and has played an important role in the expansion of the College’s laser related research activity. In 1998, the programs previously associated with the Conference and Engineering Short Courses groups were consolidated under the Manager of Industry and Government Training Programs.

An attempt was made in 1989 to bring Engineering Summer Conferences and Michigan Engineering Television Network together under an Assistant Dean for Continuing Engineering Education. For a variety of reasons, little meaningful synergy for collaboration resulted from the union. In 1992, the three units — ESE, METN, and Conferences & Liaison Group — were consolidated with other units already operating under the College’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). It was with the dissolution of OTT in 1995 that CPD was established.

1996-2012: Center for Professional Development 

After OTT was dissolved in 1995, the Center for Professional Development was established as a freestanding unit under the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. When the College established an Associate Dean for Graduate Education in 1998, it vested responsibility in this position for Graduate Programs, CPD, and International Programs in Engineering. Shortly thereafter, Associate Dean Linda Katehi placed responsibility for a fourth function under CPD: Graduate Professional Programs (GPP).

The GPP Office consisted of a Program Coordinator who reported directly to the Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research until the creation of a dedicated Associate Dean for Graduate Education. The function and position were created in 1993 to provide services to graduate professional programs that were normally associated with the Rackham Graduate School. In 1998, CPD assumed responsibility for the administration of GPP (MEng) in the College. CPD’s primary functions in this area included program development, marketing, applications processing, enrollment services, student records, and other student services, and continuous program improvement. The integration enabled the CoE to successfully scale up selected MEng programs and foster the use of distance learning by interested departments and programs across the College.

CPD developed and delivered programs and services that enabled engineers, managers, and technical professionals to be more effective, productive, and competitive. CPD extended and enhanced the programs, capabilities, and relationships of the faculty and affiliated of the College of Engineering by offering graduate professional programs, distance independent and technology enhanced learning, non-credit public short courses and conferences, and specialized training programs that are based on the specific needs of client organizations. 

CPD programs were targeted to engineering professionals. Marketing and program development efforts focused on clearly defined needs for education and training in areas where faculty and affiliates demonstrated strengths. CPD promoted an interactive approach to program development in which representatives from industry and the faculty work together to determine major elements to the programs.

CPD became a world leader in providing lifelong learning for technical professionals, serving more than 100,000 professionals with intensive short courses, conferences, professional certifications, and off-campus graduate degree programs. CPD also became the worldwide provider of Manufacturing education and training programs. One of its learning partners was General Motors Corporation. The CPD-GM relationship began in 1995 with the creation of four new courses to address a situation of major concern to GM. The company was anticipating the retirement of the majority of its experts in body design, engineering, and manufacturing, and it had no obvious successors. CPD coordinated a team of Michigan faculty and affiliates to develop and deliver the courses via distance learning to GM’s engineering and manufacturing workforce throughout the world, leading to a certificate in Body Design and Engineering that is recognized by the company as the required body of knowledge for experts in this area. The program one an award for innovative industry/university partnership from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Based on this successful implementation, GM called upon Michigan to develop other course sequences in Energy (two courses) and Vehicle Dynamics (two courses). In 1999, CPD won through a competitive bid process the worldwide responsibility for Manufacturing master’s programs. CPD also provided GM’s global engineering and manufacturing workforce with programs in quality, lean, powertrain, e-systems, and other mission-critical training and education. CPD’s relationship with GM is its longest running and most comprehensive for a given topic area. In addition, CPD had ongoing multi-year training and education projects with several other global organizations.

CPD developed and delivered distance and distributed learning, graduate professional programs, and continuing education for more than 30 years, using progressively innovative technologies to serve hundreds of thousands of users. CPD’s asynchronous learning capabilities were devoted to graduate degree programs and to distance training modules. Master’s programs were available via a variety of distance learning formats, including online streaming.

A unique attribute to CPD’s online learning capability is materials can be served from discrete databases that house course notes, graphics, time coded video/audio, student data, and other instructional assets separately. These assets were then assembled into a lecture “on the fly” using specialized programming techniques. To the extent that lectures and tutorials were used to deliver instruction, the ability to manage notes, graphics, simulations, and other assets separately was very important since it enabled program content to be managed as a set of non-linear assets.

CPD’s student services and support systems were well respected by students throughout the world who participated in distance learning programs. CPD also had substantial experience with asynchronous program delivery for individual tutorials and training modules. 

U-M had partnerships and formal agreements with universities throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere. CPD leveraged these partnerships, and others with affiliate organizations, to meet the specific needs of customers. CPD enjoyed a global reputation that helped attract and retain excellent instructors who met high standards for command of the material, practical knowledge, and the ability to teach.

CPD received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for distance training programs, and from the US Department of Transportation. CPD also received major grants from the Sloan Foundation and the Ford Fund. In 2001, CPD obtained awards from the private sector and from state and local grant programs to support workforce development. This included the certification of 150 professionals through a State of Indiana grant in lean manufacturing principles and practices. A State of Michigan grant was secured to train professionals as lean masters.

From 2001, CPD was actively involved in Lean and Six Sigma. For the Six Sigma program, CPD developed live and online offerings for many courses and offered them both as university courses and professional short courses for certification.  

In addition to the Six Sigma program, CPD had extensive experience teaching Lean Manufacturing and Business Processes. While members of the Michigan instructional team have offered instruction, training, and consulting in many areas of lean process improvement since the 1960s — its initial Lean training services started in 1998 with customized programs for Chrysler. UM offered lean programs and services in several key industry sectors, including Business Processes, Logistics, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, and other industries and trained more than 5,000 professionals in Lean in a variety of industry sectors.

CPD offerings in lean included lean manufacturing principles, value stream mapping, creating lean flow, standardized work, factory physics, cell analysis and design, factory layout, accounting and measurement for lean, IT for lean manufacturing, rapid plant assessment, leading the change to lean, job instruction training, developing and leading work groups. More than 1,500 manufacturing leaders representing global organizations completed the 10-day lean manufacturing masters program through CPD. 

1993-2005: Interdisciplinary Academic Programs

Paralleling the CPD developments, in 1993 a Graduate Professional Programs Office (GPPO) was created in the College of Engineering to provide services to graduate professional programs that were previously provided by the Rackham Graduate School. This office reported directly to the Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research in the CoE. In 1998, the Graduate Education and Research functions were separated and oversight for GPPO’s professional education functions was vested with the newly established office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Education (ADGE), which was also responsible for Graduate Programs and International Programs.

In 1993, the Program in Manufacturing (PIM) became the first interdisciplinary academic program. It was soon followed by Automotive (1995) and Financial Engineering (1997). The early 2000s witnessed creation of interdisciplinary programs in Pharmaceutical Engineering (2001) and Integrated Microsystems (2002).

The Program in Manufacturing (PIM), was first established in 1993 by the efforts of Professors Galip Ulsoy and George Carignan, admitting its first students in Fall Term 1994. PIM became the first interdisciplinary academic program in the College of Engineering and the curriculum became the model that future Master of Engineering (MEng) programs would follow for executing interdisciplinary degrees at the master’s level.

PIM’s mission was to educate world-class engineers and to prepare them for a successful career in 21st century manufacturing, and enhance and coordinate the education, research, and service activities within CoE in the area of manufacturing. The need for the program arose out of the change in manufacturing in the 1980s. Global competition created a demand for a new type of manufacturing engineer with a systems viewpoint, depth in an engineering discipline, breadth across engineering and business disciplines, and practical experience. Consequently, there was a need for new educational programs to train professional practice oriented manufacturing engineers who were strong technically, understood the business issues, could work effectively in teams, and had practical hands-on engineering skills. This led to the PIM curricula based on the concept of the “Team or T Engineer” — one who can work effectively as a member of a team. This model is still used today.

Working from scratch on a small budget from the CoE, the program’s founders created an interdisciplinary Manufacturing Council consisting of faculty from various departments in the College and an industrial advisory committee. They conducted a marketing survey among companies in the area and discovered enough interest in a program. From there, two new degrees were crafted: MEng and DEng in Manufacturing. These were the first MEng degrees in the College, and were also the first degrees in Manufacturing offered at U-M. PIM was an innovative program that broke new ground by getting academic approval for these new programs and degrees not only at the College and University levels, but through the State of Michigan’s President’s Council. PIM also broke new ground in terms of securing a distance learning partnership with GM, and a University financial model that shared tuition revenues with participating faculty and departments. PIM was the first interdepartmental program, with the Manufacturing Council, overseeing the program and making policy on admissions, academic requirements, and standards, etc. PIM was innovative in establishing a partnership with the U-M Ross School of Business through the Tauber Manufacturing Institute (TMI), a partnership with the U-M Dearborn campus, and partnerships with other Tier 1 universities through sharing of distance learning courses. 

From its inception, PIM has been a collaborative effort with industry. The strategic planning process that led to the creation of PIM involved the CoE National Advisory Committee, workshops with engineers from industry, and many meetings and discussions with individuals from industry. Industry continues to support PIM through the External Advisory Board (EAB), the summer team projects, participation in classes and seminars, through financial support of PIM, and by sending students to the degree programs offered by PIM. Most importantly PIM graduates have been hired by a variety of manufacturing companies, including 3M, Allied-Signal, Applied Materials, Boeing, Bosch, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, Intel, Johnson Controls, Kelsey-Hayes, Motorola, Price Waterhouse, Sandia National Laboratories, Steelcase, Texas Instruments, and United Technologies.

By the end of the 1990s, PIM had become a premier graduate manufacturing engineering program, as evidenced by the increase in enrollment from 6 in 1993-94 to 63 in 1997-98, the consistent top ranking in the U.S. News & World Report survey of Engineering Graduate Programs, and the excellent job offers and starting salaries for graduates.

By 1997, PIM offered three graduate degrees:

  • Master of Engineering in Manufacturing (MEng Mfg),
  • Joint MEng Mfg and MBA
  • Doctor of Engineering in Manufacturing (DEng Mfg).

In addition, the five-year simultaneous graduate and undergraduate studies (SUGS) and the Engineering Global Leadership (EGL) honors programs were offered. These combined undergraduate degrees in various engineering departments with the MEng in Mfg.

By 2001, PIM also provided short course training certificates in Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Green and Black Belt. PIM was renamed the Manufacturing Engineering Program (MEP) in 2008 and was operated by the Program Committee (PC) that consists of the Program Director and additional five UM faculty members from different departments. In addition to the PC, PIM had the External Advisory Board (EAB), which comprised alumni, academic, industry, and government representatives.

EAB provided external inputs and support to help MEP succeed with high visibility, which included sharing their vision of emerging manufacturing technologies and industry needs, providing feedback/suggestions about the curriculum, and helping students’ recruiting and placement.

Manufacturing Program Directors:

  • A. Galip Ulsoy, 1993-1994
  • Yavuz Bozer, 1995-1996
  • A. Galip Ulsoy, 1996-1998
  • Debashish Dutta, 1998-2001
  • Stacy Bike, Interim Director, 2001
  • Jack Hu, 2002-2006
  • Jan Shi, 2006-2007
  • Elijah Kannatey-Asibu, Jr, 2007-2010
  • Judy Jin, 2010- Present

Automotive Engineering, Established 1995

In fall 1995, the College of Engineering launched a new advanced degree program — a Master of Engineering in Automotive Engineering (MEngAE), following the Program In Manufacturing (PIM) model, established by Professor Dennis Assanis. The MEngAE program focused on contemporary engineering practice, balancing technical aspects with a strong emphasis on executive skill development. The objectives of the program were to strengthen technical competence and depth by teaching advanced skills in automotive engineering, broaden personal technical horizons through exposure to a wide spectrum of interdisciplinary engineering activities, enhance understanding of management and human-factor issues related to the design, and marketing of automotive systems, and provide practical experience in team building, interdisciplinary team membership, and team project management. The program was also structured to accommodate the needs of working engineers who wanted to acquire graduate-level experience and credentials, but could not come to campus while working full time.

The MEngAE program was a direct outgrowth of the department’s close working relationships with its corporate partners in the automotive industry. At the time, there weren’t any separate automotive engineering programs, but there was a lot of research in the field being conducted at the University. There was also a popular course available in Automotive Engineering, but the availability of the course was at the discretion of the faculty member teaching. As a result of the demand from industry intersecting with the College’s interests to better serve their needs, the Automotive Engineering master’s program was developed.

The program blends engineering fundamentals and practice with an emphasis on systems thinking and the latest advances in technologies. It provides students with a systems perspective and breadth of knowledge that cuts across departments, drawing upon many different engineering disciplines, such as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science engineering, materials science, and industrial engineering. Students deepened their knowledge of traditional mechanical engineering, but they took courses in electric machines, electronics, control systems, software development, and business.

One of the unique features was offering classes to students on campus and through distance learning from around the world. An important element of the program was a capstone project, which offered students the opportunity to solve a real-world problem based on their new knowledge. The culminating project was completed individually or on a team, virtually or locally, and in close interaction with faculty and industry leaders.

Graduates of the Automotive Engineering program moved the automotive industry further into the 21st Century and beyond. In September of its inaugural year, 10 students enrolled in the program. By 2002, enrollment was up to 132. 

Automotive Engineering Program Directors:

  • Richard Sonntag (pre-launch), 1994-1995
  • Dennis Assanis, 1995-2001
  • Huei Peng, 2002-2007
  • Margaret Wooldridge, 2007-2011
  • James Freudenberg, 2011-2020
  • Art Hyde, 2020-present

Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering 2005

In 2005, the Master of Engineering in Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (MEng in GAME) was designed and developed by Professors Jack Hu and Huei Peng in close cooperation with the General Motors Technical Education Program (GMTEP) to grow a worldwide pool of engineers trained to work successfully in the cross-cultural, highly competitive and complex global automotive industry. In response to industry needs, it became the first multi-university, global degree, offering the flexibility of integrating more courses from top Universities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

The 30-credit Master’s degree was designed to be a model. The curriculum matched the new business realities of the global automotive industry where automotive parts might be designed in several places, manufactured in yet another, welded in a car somewhere else before the assembled vehicle was sold in many different countries. It offered global content, integrated core elements of both automotive design and manufacturing, and provided students with an opportunity to develop depth in an engineering specialty as well as breadth in manufacturing and knowledge of basic management. The program was designed to increase cultural understanding resulting in the creation of products that are globalized where appropriate and localized as needed. It was one of the earliest degree programs that can be completed entirely online.

The origins of the degree began in 2002 when GM held a University Partnership Meeting with more than 20 international universities, shared the results of a GM global needs assessment survey, and conducted a competitive bid process. In 2003, GM selected U-M as a partner and began to design the Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (GAME) Master’s degree program, building on the interdisciplinary Program in Manufacturing (PIM). The first cohort of GM employees in Australia and the U.S. were admitted in January 2005. GAME was expanded to GM operations in Brazil, Canada, China, India, and Mexico in 2007, and France, Germany, Italy, and Korea in 2008. Offered first to General Motors employees around the world, the degree prepared students to work in a virtual environment and collaboratively, and develop the competency to build and lead global teams.

While designed with the needs of GM in mind, it has been open to all U-M students. Since 2007, GAME graduated 362 students and more than 120 GM students from operations worldwide have been consistently enrolled in the GAME program every year. GAME received the Sloan Consortium Program Profile Award in 2006 and the National University Technology Network Distance Education Innovation Award in 2007 as well as being recognized by the American Society of Engineering Education.

GAME Program Directors:

  • Huei Peng, Co-director 2006-2007
  • Jack Hu, Co-Director 2006
  • Margaret Wooldridge, 2007-2012
  • Margaret was on sabbatical from Sept 2011 – August 2012
  • Hong Im, Acting Director while Margaret was on sabbatical, Sept 2011 – August 2012
  • Elijah Kannatey Asibu, Co-Director 2006-2010
  • Judy Jin, Co-Director 2010 to about 2012
  • Albert Shih – Acting director, Sept 2011 – August 2012
  • Albert Shih, Co-Director August 2012 – December 2012
  • Albert Shih, Director 2013 – 2016
  • Pingsha Dong, Interim Director, 2016; Director 2017-present

2006-2012: Interdisciplinary Professional Programs (InterPro)

InterPro was formed in 2006 upon merger of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Degree Programs with the Center for Professional Development (CPD). Its name was derived from the merger. The InterPro organizational structure started with two components: Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs and Continuing Education. The Continuing Education side of InterPro provided technical support, particularly in the area of distance learning, to the academic programs as well as to support the CPD short courses. Students enrolled in the professional degree programs took courses both on campus and through distance learning. Facilities developed and maintained by CPD were used by InterPro to serve these students. In this regard, the merger of CPD and the professional degree programs to form InterPro made logistical sense.

InterPro became the administrative home for the new Rackham interdepartmental program in Design Science. The new MEng degree programs in Energy Systems Engineering and Robotics and Unmanned Vehicles were established, motivated in part by the increased electrification and autonomy in automobiles.

Design Science Doctoral Program, Established 2006

In September 2005, Panos Papalambros from Mechanical Engineering and Richard Gonzalez from Psychology with an interdisciplinary faculty and student team across U-M submitted a proposal to Rackham for an Interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program in Design Science. The intellectual and educational merit for such a program was based on the premise that Design Science links traditionally qualitative academic fields, such as industrial design, behavioral and social sciences, with traditionally quantitative academic fields, such as engineering, through a common goal of designing artifacts that define a technologically driven way of life. As other sciences, Design Science studies would adhere to the scientific method and include all disciplines that bear on the process of creating and embedding artifacts in individual, social, and virtual environments. Using theories and methods from the humanities, engineering, business, art, industrial design, and the social sciences, Design Science students would learn how the concerns of the user and society at large can be added to existing engineering design tools and develop new design tools that focus on the broader use and impact of the objects created.

Design Science would systematically couple the multiple traditions in design. Its foundation was the quest to use analytical, quantitative and qualitative models derived from these disciplines and link them in a rigorous decision-making framework. Creating and understanding appropriate models, methods for linking them, and validating the results in actual design situations required a new research and education paradigm.

This vision led to the new graduate training program launched in Fall 2006. U-M was uniquely placed to offer this program as a national education model. At the time, no other institution administered such a program, although several schools were increasing their efforts in this domain, such as Harvard’s School of Design, Stanford’s recently announced School of Design, and MIT’s Media Lab, and several new design departments, mostly within engineering schools. U-M’s strengths in humanities and the arts, engineering, business, and the life sciences, as well as its longstanding infrastructural support of cross-disciplinary research and educational activities, would be combined in a natural and effective manner toward the new research domain of Design Science.

Design Science doctoral program goals:

  • Redefine the process that creates the artifacts that increasingly dominate our everyday world, and thus harmonize and rationalize the creation of artifacts at the human user, social, and business levels, in a new Design Science.
  • Link quantitative and qualitative approaches to artifact design across several disciplines with diverse cultures and paradigms, and offer a scientific method for design that warrants doctoral studies.
  • Create a national Design Science model that attracts a diverse, inspired student body committed to pursuing careers that will make a difference.
  • Enable Design Science graduates to become agents of significant change in academic curricula, undergraduate and graduate, in the producing enterprises, and in public decision making.

Design Science expected outcomes:

  • A new Design Science that has a strong quantitative foundation, but also pays attention to the intuitive, creative process, and other qualitative inputs to artifact creation.
  • A new body of knowledge about how to integrate previously disparate concepts and approaches to artifact/product creation, and an attendant set of instructional tools to disseminate such knowledge; 
  • A successful disciplinary congruence that draws in additional disciplines, such as neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and the health sciences.
  • New insights in the participating disciplines (anthropology, architecture, art and design, business, engineering, and psychology) that place the disciplinary work in a larger context and thus increase its depth, value, and appeal.
  • Attracting, training and conferring doctoral degrees to highly motivated students, particularly from underrepresented groups, who may not be drawn to traditional doctoral programs; and placing them in academic, public and private sector positions of leadership and influence.
  • Development of a Design Science curriculum for doctoral studies but designed for eventual migration to the general technology, science and liberal studies undergraduate curricula.
  • Demonstration on specific artifact categories and industries, including (currently) automotive, home health, and products for the elderly.

At program launch in 2006, Dr. Papalambros served as Program Director and Dr. Gonzalez as Program Chair until 2011. In 2011-2015, these roles migrated to Professors Colleen Seifert (Psychology) and Diann Brei (Mechanical Engineering).

In 2014, a Master of Science in Design Science degree was proposed to Rackham and approved. The first cohort of that program started in Fall 2015.

Energy Systems Engineering, Established 2007

In Fall 2007, InterPro implemented a new Master of Energy Systems Engineering (ESE) degree program. The MEng in Energy Systems was motivated by the need for technical leaders in the energy area, who had depth in their own engineering disciplines, breadth across engineering disciplines, knowledge of basic management issues, and the ability to lead project teams. It further established U-M’s leadership role in energy and environment through a graduate program, which was unprecedented at the time.

The ESE program brought together courses and faculty from various departments in the College of Engineering and other U-M schools with coursework pertaining to energy under the guidance of the Energy Systems Engineering Director and Council. The original curriculum was developed by joint efforts of GM Subject Matter Experts (SME) and U-M faculty members Ann Marie Sastry, Founding Director of ESE, and Huei Peng, Director of InterPro. The curriculum was designed to provide critical engineering skills in interlocking energy disciplines. An MEng was proposed as the awarded degree, rather than an MS because of the program’s focus on a systems-level understanding of the field of energy generation and environmental stewardship.

In 2011, another phase of curriculum development took place under the leadership of second ESE director, Professor Suljo Linic. In addition to continued focus on the field of sustainable energy generation and conversion the curriculum provided more flexible and student friendly course offering, enhanced focus on distance learning, an easier integration of courses that covered contemporary topics, and an integration of public policy and social science. This curriculum development led to additional focus areas which included sustainable chemical conversion, energy generation, distribution and usage, and transportation power.

ESE Program Directors:

  • Ann-Marie Sastry, Founding Director, 2007 – 2010
  • Suljo Linic, 2010–present

ISD, Established 2013

In October 2012, CoE proposed the creation of a new engineering division in Integrative Systems + Design (ISD). The division was to replace the Michigan Interdisciplinary and Professional Engineering (InterPro) organization. InterPro had been the CoE unit for interdisciplinary and professional education comprising three activities: Teaching and delivery of professional master degree programs. including MEng, MS (Financial Engineering), DEng (Manufacturing) and PhD (Design Science); offering short courses through the Center for Professional Development (CPD); and video lecture capture and online delivery technologies and their implementation in course production for both degree programs and non-credit programs. Each of these functions was developed over the past 20+ years with a separate academic, business, and service mission. A 2010-11 external and internal review of InterPro indicated the need for unification and focus of the organization’s activities with a clear mission. The new ISD division would meet this need.

ISD differed from InterPro in several key ways: 

  • Focused Mission: The ISD academic mission was to study and promote leadership in the design and creation of innovative products and systems at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels through curricular, co-curricular and post-curricular activities that integrate knowledge across established disciplines.
  • Joint Faculty: ISD faculty comprise professors of practice, PRS with instructional interests, LEOs, and instructional faculty with joint appointments. Tenure home resides at an existing department, not ISD. Joint appointment typically range in 25-50 percent effort and included ISD instructional and service responsibilities; ISD appointments follow the same procedure as other joint appointments (approval by home departments, ISD, and CoE Executive Committee). 
  • Core Competence in e-Learning: ISD built upon InterPro’s expertise in distance learning and off-campus instruction. It studied pedagogy and implemented new modes of online learning, integrated with more traditional learning models.
  • Vertical and Horizontal Integration: In contrast to past InterPro practice, ISD integrated each program’s master’s degree studies with offerings in short courses, undergraduate concentrations, and PhD certificates. Moreover, ISD vigorously recruited UM undergraduate students for its master’s degrees via SUGS-type arrangements.

Existing Programs

A majority of existing InterPro programs fit already with the philosophy and mission of ISD; however, some programs needed re-examination. The InterPro programs that fit well and stayed within ISD included Automotive Engineering (MEng), Design Science (PhD), Energy Systems Engineering (MEng), Manufacturing Engineering (MEng and DEng), Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (MEng), and Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles (MEng). The Financial Engineering (MS) program continued for two more years within CoE and it moved to a new home under LSA and RBS. The Integrated Microsystems (MEng) had not reached a critical mass of students and was terminated as an independent program. Individual departments manage existing or new MEng-type programs that are department specific.

New ISD Opportunities

ISD programs are designed for consistency, flexibility, personalization, and efficient utilization of instructional resources. The ISD programs structure is an evolution of the original MEng structure.

At the time of the proposal, three new degrees were planned: Integrative Engineering Systems (MEng, later named Systems Engineering + Design), Design Science (MS, augments the present PhD in Design Science), and Sustainable Engineering Systems (MEng degree in in collaboration with the principals of the dual degree with SNRE, and the new Program in Sustainable Engineering).

Systems Engineering + Design, Established 2014

In 2013, ISD Chair Panos Papalambros and Degree Program Chair Designate Bogdan Epureanu submitted a proposal for a new Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering + Design (SE+D). It was approved by the CoE, and began accepting students in 2014.

The SE+D program is the culmination of extensive deliberations among CoE leadership and faculty, including professors of practice, and members of the wider community outside U-M about the importance of systems thinking for engineering. There is a broader context nationally about the need to approach the design of large complex engineered systems in a more comprehensive manner. Today’s technology frontiers are defined by challenges in energy, the environment, vulnerability to human and natural threats, healthcare, manufacturing and production — all problems that involve complex engineered systems. Addressing these problems requires skills in systems engineering and design, integrating systems thinking and design thinking to pose, as well as to answer complex questions, to deal with uncertainty, and to appreciate the social and human aspects of complex engineered systems design processes. The goal of the SE+D degree is to equip the students with such skills.

At UM, there is general agreement that an understanding of engineering systems is a critical skill that should augment disciplinary skills. For example, engineers able to pose questions relevant to a specific product or system and to deal with partial and statistical information (rather than just answering already existing questions and using deterministic, precise information) are in high demand in industry. The CoE Departments are recognized for their excellence in their respective disciplines, both at national rankings and through alumni surveys. ISD graduates have stressed the value of learning the fundamentals of their disciplines, but they also express a desire for further appreciation that modern engineered systems require a multidisciplinary perspective and ability to innovate that close the gap between systems analysis and creative synthesis. The former tends to be the domain of systems engineering, while the latter the domain of design. The SE+D degree couples these two inherently interdisciplinary domains and emphasizes the focus of systems engineering on design.

A good systems engineer must combine depth in at least one discipline with experience and appreciation for the other disciplines represented in the system. Acquiring such skill sets typically requires many years of practical experience in diverse roles. While an academic education cannot replace such experience, there are individuals among the prospective students who have the talent and interest to develop such skills relatively quickly, or have acquired adequate experience to deeply inform further academic education in systems and design. In all such cases, an appropriate educational program will be highly beneficial to augment the obvious value of practical experience.

A well-documented approach to develop bridging skills across disciplines is the use of teams. Teaming helps students to learn how to integrate their knowledge within a system but may not always provide a sufficiently wide variety of systems examples. A Practicum developed as part of the program of study in conjunction with participating sponsoring organizations can address such needs. For example, defense agencies and their prime contractors can provide many opportunities for an effective guided Practicum. While a chief systems engineer or senior system architect may indeed evolve after decades of experience, there are many other positions in an organization where understanding of systems engineering methods is necessary in order to assist the chief engineer, for example through preparation of requirements or risk analysis. This type of experience can be facilitated through the Practicum.

The degree objective is to prepare engineers with knowledge and capabilities in the analysis, design, and operation of complex engineered systems. The students would develop a broad systems engineering perspective that includes system architecting, specification development and management, system verification and validation, and delivery of complex systems. The program would augment and leverage the students’ expertise in a core engineering discipline. Since the prospective student body was likely to have a diversity of experience, the program was to include an extended Practicum option required for students whose previous experience was insufficient.

SE+D Program Directors:

  • Dr. Bogdan Epureanu, 2014-2016
  • Dr. Robert Bordley, 2016 – present