Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Over the past 100 years, the US economy has evolved from one based primarily in the goods-producing sector (agriculture, manufacturing, and mining) to the service sector. Today the service sector accounts for more than 80% of US Gross Domestic Product and more than 85% of the workforce. In fact, today many engineering graduates go on to work in service sector industries instead of more traditional manufacturing industries. In part, the service sector may be such a large segment of our economy because its processes are highly inefficient. Engineering problem-solving and talent, if properly applied to processes in the service sector, could serve to significantly increase efficiency and reduce costs, similar to advances made in the goods-producing sector over the past century. In 2003 Michigan Tech received a planning grant from the National Science Foundation to define curricular characteristics for Service Sector Engineering through a Delphi Study. Armed with these characteristics, a workshop was convened at Michigan Tech in August 2006 to define a Service Systems Engineering curriculum. Workshop participants consisted of faculty from several universities as well as industry leaders interested in engineering for the service sector. An additional grant from NSF’s Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program was recently awarded for the implementation of this curriculum.

Publisher's Statement

© 2007 American Society for Engineering Education, proceedings of 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. Deposited here in compliance with publisher policies. Publisher's version of record:

ASEE homepage:

Publication Title

2007 American Society for Engineering Education Conference


Publisher's PDF