UT Hosts International Students for Unique Engineering Program

More than ninety students from developing countries will converge on the UT campus next month for a College of Engineering program to learn cutting-edge industrial engineering practices and gain cultural experiences.

The program, called the Lean Enterprise Summer Program, led by the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering, is intended to allow students from different cultures to work together to accrue the technical knowledge of Lean—the practice of creating more value for consumers while using fewer resources and eliminating waste.

Media are invited to the opening ceremony held at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, July 2, at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy’s Toyota Auditorium. They are also invited to attend class sessions and shadow students at participating businesses.

The program began in 2010 to include students solely from Mexico but has expanded to universities around the world, bringing people from developing countries that have big influence in today’s global dynamics. Ninety students from five institutions within Mexico, China, and Brazil will attend this year.

“The program focuses on introducing students to the technical skills in Lean principles and the creation of an environment that allows a unique exchange of ideas across cultures,” said Rupy Sawhney, Weston Fulton Professor and head of the Department of Industrial Engineering. “This allows foreign participants to better understand multicultural environments, and helps US citizens to interact with people from other cultures, helping to better prepare all for today’s world.”

Students will take classes during the morning with UT faculty. In the afternoons, they will work with companies such as Arc Automotive, Brunswick-Knoxville Manufacturing Facility, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Energizer Personal Care, Fulton Bellows, Homesteader Inc., Jost International, and Monterey Mushrooms, learning how to apply the right tools for the right processes and develop a sustainable culture.

After four weeks, students will present their reports to the companies’ leaders and receive a certificate pending successful completion of requirements.

Many companies have implemented student recommendations from past sessions. For example, students optimized the scheduling and sequencing of several departments at Fulton Bellows.

“The students were professional, methodical, and effective,” said Bryon Joganich, President of Fulton Bellows LLC. “By implementing many of their suggestions, we have been able to gain market share on critical product lines and help secure our future.”

Isaac Mitchell, lean process coordinator with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, said a student’s project “resulted in a planned redesign and renovation of our surgery instrument decontamination room and instrument storage rooms.”

In addition to technical knowledge, participants gain a cultural experience through classroom interaction and recreational activities. For example, UT’s International House plans activities such as hiking in the Smokies and field trips to museums.

“We believe this program is unique in the way it combines academia, practice, and international exposure in the topic of Lean which in a way is useful not only for students, but as well for the industry within the region,” said Enrique Macias de Anda, program director.

The program is important to UT’s Ready for the World initiative, which involves increasing diversity among students, faculty, and staff. Visit the Ready for the World website for more information.

The program is sponsored by the Center for Industrial Services (CIS) and participating companies. Jim Slizewski, regional manager of the CIS Tennessee Manufacturing Extension Program, was vital in connecting businesses with the program.

For further information about the program, visit utlean.utk.edu.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, wheins@utk.edu)

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