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Benchmarking the redesign of "business process reengineering" curriculum: A continuous process improvement (CPI)

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the application of business process reengineering (BPR) and benchmarking principles to redesign an undergraduate course on BPR to achieve continuous improvements. The principles are applied on a course on BPR in the curriculum of engineering management (EM) program at Stevens Institute of Technology. The EM program aims to provide the students the knowledge and skills, which are necessary to work effectively at the interface between technology, management, and engineering. BPR course (EM435) is recently added to EM program's curriculum to support the need for providing the bridge between the engineering of systems and business operations. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The research approach design is laid out from the time the EM435 course is first offered in the fall of 2006 to the senior year EM students. The students are surveyed and areas of redesign and improvements are identified based on benchmarking against ABET criteria and their associated outcomes, student expectations, similar academic courses, and industry expectations of skills and knowledge. Findings ‐ The identification of the improvement areas in the BPR curriculum leads to a continuous process improvement (CPI) initiative, which has been continued in a more structured manner. Research findings indicate a strong support for more case studies, use of BPR tool, and real-life project in their investigation of effective pedagogy for teaching BPR to engineering undergraduates. Research limitations/implications ‐ This paper demonstrates the value of applying benchmarking and CPI methodology in maintaining effective teaching and learning of BPR concepts. More empirical metrics can be developed in future to measure the success of course, improvements. Practical implications ‐ The findings of this research will promote adoption of courses on BPR and lay a foundation for BPR curriculum in engineering. The CPI approach will provide opportunities to analyze improvements over a period of time. Originality/value ‐ This paper is unique in its application of benchmarking and CPI for improving BPR curriculum at an undergraduate engineering level.

Keywords: Benchmarking; Business process re-engineering; Curricula; Education; Professional associations; Standards

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14635771011022325

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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