Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Program

RALPH HEATH (HCB, ’75) has long supported the natural cohesiveness of business and engineering. In 2014, he and his wife, Janet, created a joint fellowship that named one faculty member at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Tickle College of Engineering and one at Haslam College of Business to collaborate on shared research endeavors.

In 2017, with another endowment from the Heaths, a student-focused cohort meant to fill the void between business and engineering concepts in industry was launched. The Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Program (IBEP) marries a systems thinking approach with core business principles, including soft skills, to ensure graduates are able to successfully function in industry in ways those with degrees in one discipline or the other may not.

Each group of students is selected from both Haslam and Tickle through a competitive admissions process. Students in the program spend three years taking classes in business leadership, communications and process thinking, in addition to other targeted classwork. Heath IBEP provides a number of other points of contact, including networking events, industry speakers, executive mentors, and site visits to companies. A capstone class, in which the group solves a real-world problem at the intersection of business and engineering, seals the program’s focus on real-world expertise.

“Everything is intended to help them apply what they’re learning in class to the real world,” says IBEP director Mary Pile, “and to expose them to how the different functions of a company must work together to make it successful.”

At this year’s Alumni Awards Gala, Ralph Heath was honored as the namesake for the Heath Integrated Business & Engineering Program. “The program’s design benefited greatly from the vision of Ralph Heath,” says Stephen L. Mangum, Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair and dean of Haslam. “I am impressed with the quality of students drawn to the program. There is no limit to what these students may accomplish.”

Heath IBEP works by utilizing ongoing support and partnerships from industry leaders and corporate partners. If you are interested in speaking at an event, offering a site visit at your company or contributing funds, please email INTEGRATE@UTK.EDU OR VISIT INTEGRATE.UTK.EDU.

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