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College of Continuing Education News

The "Make Stuff" Degree

Mac McKeen, MM Faculty Director

Program Overview
Manufacturing Operations Management (MM), or as we sometimes call it, the "make stuff" degree, is designed to provide the knowledge and skills required for a career in the field of manufacturing. In business nothing happens until someone sells something--and there is nothing to sell until someone makes something. It is this awareness that is behind the Manufacturing Operations Management B.A.Sc. degree and the way we prepare our graduates to immediately contribute to the bottom line.

The MM program offers a real-world perspective on the latest manufacturing processes and technologies, along with practical knowledge of management strategies and tactics that are critical to productivity and competitiveness in today's global economy. The classes, which are offered either fully or partially online, offer a flexible way to meet the career development needs of both full- and part-time students.

The Prospective MM Student
The MM program has particular appeal to those seeking career development because it takes a practicum approach, blending theoretical subject matter with reality-based knowledge provided by industry professionals. The entire adjunct faculty is composed of industry professionals working in their field of expertise. These knowledgeable and passionate leaders bring their real-world experiences into the program and course work, and course assignments and research are based on what is happening in the industry today.

This degree is also designed to prepare new professionals to enter the field of manufacturing operations management, which is critical to the medical device industry both here in Minnesota and around the world. In Minnesota, the medical technology industry is a key part of the economy and provides higher wages than other commercial sectors; there are some 35,000 direct jobs and 200,000 indirect jobs in the state.

The Curriculum
The MM courses are process-based and reflect the key focus areas of the ISO 9001 Quality System Standard. Every successful manufacturing company uses this international standard to design and build its systems. The core competencies of this degree are based on the fundamental building blocks of the standard and what is required for an effective and efficient manufacturing operation:


  • Management Responsibility and Leadership - business processes and human capital management

  • Resource Management and Supply Chain - materials conversion and sourcing

  • Product Realization and Manufacturing - transformation cycle

  • Measurement Analysis and Improvement and Quality - continuous improvement and world- class quality systems


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Our goal is to continually update the curriculum to ensure its graduates are able to meet the needs and demands of the medical and technical manufacturing industry, and build and enhance partnerships with other U of M colleges and departments, as well as with employers and companies in the area.

Program Benefits
The MM program gives students real-world perspectives on manufacturing operations. It is also designed to give them an insight into management strategies and tactics and the "soft skills" they will need in a very competitive, rapidly growing global economy. Graduates of the program are prepared to compete for many in-demand jobs, including those in manufacturing and operations, supply chain and materials management, and quality and compliance.

The classes, which are offered either fully or partially online, offer a flexible way to meet the career development needs of both full- and part-time students. The program teaches leadership and management skills, as well as technical skills in the areas of supply chain, quality, processes, and technology. This degree is ideal for individuals who are already working in the field, and want to finish their degree, or for traditional-age students who are interested in getting into this industry.

It is about quality--whether it is a degree program you're creating, or whether you're manufacturing pens or pop bottles or medical devices. There is a saying, 'The definition of quality is when your customers come back...and your products don't.' That's a great way to sum up this degree program.

mac_mckeen.jpgMr. McKeen is a leading regulatory consultant with over 20 years of experience in the medical device industry in a variety of key assignments focusing on rapid product development, clinical study, quality system compliance, and regulatory approval of innovative high quality Class II and III medical devices. He has served as director of regulatory management for St. Jude Medical and director of quality for Phillips Plastics. He is active in a wide range of industry associations as chair of the LifeScience Alley Regulatory SIG and member of the LSA 510k Action Committee, as well as a variety of AdvaMed committees. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Dallas and an R.A.C. (Regulatory Affairs Certification).

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