Professor wins manufacturing society's Sargent Americanism Award

Topic: College of Applied Sciences and Technology

July 23, 2007

Ball State professor Alan Leduc won a prestigious award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

Leduc, an associate professor in the manufacturing engineering technology program, won the Sargent Americanism Award presented by the SME's Education Foundation to recognize faculty at North American colleges and universities who have developed significant and innovative course work giving students a better understanding of manufacturing-related business skills.

In addition to the recognition, Ball State's Department of Technology will receive $2,500 from the organization for use by Leduc, who plans to use the funds for scholarships for a proposed minor in quality management. Students in the new minor who meet certain academic standards will be qualified to sit for a specialized exam — called the Six Sigma Blackbelt certification — before graduation.

Leduc applied for the competitive award citing the manufacturing planning and controls course — part of the manufacturing engineering technology bachelor's degree offered through Ball State's College of Applied Sciences and Technology. Leduc focused the course on quantitative techniques including forecasting techniques, engineering economics, inventory management and capital equipment justification.

"Engineering technologists must have an understanding of business to be effective," Leduc said. "But with the number of technical courses in the curriculum, there was not room for a business minor. When I came to the university in 1990, I was assigned to develop a course to give our students an overall understanding of business concepts in one class. Obviously, this was a challenging task."

His continuing work on the course earned him the SME recognition this summer. The award is named after Albert Sargent, who founded the society in 1932 and served as its president from 1946-47.

"Manufacturing has obviously taken a beating in the news in recent years, and many students are discouraged from enrolling in manufacturing engineering technology programs," Leduc said. "However, the need for highly skilled manufacturing technologists has not declined, and our graduating students receive excellent salaries and normally receive multiple job offers because of the extensive technical, scientific and business training they undertake at Ball State."

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