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UA 105.013 Guide to the North Carolina State University Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Records, 1933 - 2006

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[Box 1, Folder 1] 1946 - 2006
[Box 1, Folder 2] 1957 - 1961
[Box 1, Folder 3] 1970 - 1984, [no date]
[Box 1, Folder 4] 1981 - 1982
[Box 1, Folder 5] 1955 - 1998
Committees: Industry Advisory
[Box 1, Folder 6] 1988
Long Range Plan
[Box 1, Folder 7] 1989
[Box 1, Folder 8] 1942 - 1979
[Box 1, Folder 9] 1933 - 1947
[Box 1, Folder 10] 1950
[Box 1, Folder 11] 1947
[Box 1, Folder 12] 1942 - 1978
[Box 1, Folder 13] 1979 - 1983
[Box 1, Folder 14] 1984 - 1992


North Carolina State University. Dept. of Industrial Engineering.


0.5 Linear feet 1 archival box


For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff external link.



Acquisitions Information

Transferred from the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineerin.


Processed by: Russell S. Koonts; machine-readable finding aid created by: Katherine M. Wisser

Scope and Content Note

These records cover the years 1933 to 2006. They contain announcements, brochures, correspondence, financial records, long range plans, research reports and seminar flyers pertaining to the department, its courses and curricula as well as the University's extension program. Also included in the records is a list of graduates from 1933 to 1947, an industrial survey of Raleigh, North Carolina, compiled in 1947, and photographs of the facilities and personnel dating from 1982-1983.

Historical Note

The first record of industrial engineering as a curriculum at North Carolina State University appears in the Spring 1930 college catalog. Although a four-year program is described, no graduates or faculty are listed. At the time, both N. C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill had engineering programs, and State had a School of Science and Business which had a degree in Industrial Management. A few years later, all engineering was transferred to State and all business curricula to Chapel Hill. The 1931-32 catalog named Howard Burton Shaw as the sole Professor of Industrial Engineering.

The first degrees were granted in 1933 to Henry K. Saunders and Harold E. Thomason. That year, the department had eleven enrollees. In 1934 two more degrees were granted, one of them to Raymond E. Shafer who later served many years as head of the Industrial engineering department at West Virginia University. During these pre-World War II years, enrollment continued to be small, and the number of degrees per year remained less than ten. During these years, the departmental classrooms and offices were in the Civil Engineering Building (now the backside of Daniels Hall, opposite the Park Shops Building). In April 1940, the catalog promised that other quarters would be provided in the near future. These proved to be "Rooms 125 to 132, 1911 Dormitory." The department stayed in the 1911 Building until Riddick Laboratories were completed and the department moved there in 1950.

Col. Frank Groseclose came to the State campus in 1938 from the the mechanical engineering department at Chapel Hill. He served with Shaw until World War II when he was called up for service. Dr. Blake Van Leer, who succeeded Wallace C. Riddick as Dean of Engineering at State in 1937, went to Georgia Tech as president after World War II, and hired Groseclose when the latter got out of the army. He later served for many years as head of the School of Industrial Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Many things changed in the School of Engineering after the war. J. Harold Lampe came in as Dean in 1945, and in spring 1948, David E. Henderson came back to the department as head of the industrial engineering department. Henderson was partly supported by an endowment contributed by the family of Judge Walter Clark and named in his behalf. The curriculum had been accredited in 1948 and has remained accredited since. Graduate programs were initiated in 1947-48 and the first masters degree was granted by the department in 1950.

Henderson not only re-activated the department, but started an aggressive off-campus series of supervisory development courses that served the Winston-Salem, High Point, and Greensboro areas. These were successful for about 7 or 8 years. Cope probably served the University longer, for he came in 1938, but much of his service was with the mechanical engineering department.

The modern day industrial engineering department really began in the post war-years. The G.I.'s dominated the academic scene. They were generally all business, wanting to make up for lost time, get a degree and get on with making a career. Enrollment and degrees granted grew steadily, reaching more than 50 degrees in 1953 and 1957, then dropping off as the post war enrollment decline set in.

Henderson provided a sure guiding hand during these years, building up the staff, supervising the shops, and incorporating the furniture program. But the lure of industry and more income came and in the summer of 1954 he left to join a management consulting firm. Carl Hart served as acting department head during Fall 1954. In February 1955, Robert G. Carson came from Clemson to be the department head.

Industrial Engineering at N. C. State began its transition with undergraduate course changes in 1956. Dr. R. G. Carson and Professor R. W. Llewellyn got the change underway with a major curriculum revision characterized by a reworking of the traditional industrial engineering courses to condense them. The plan was to provide an integrated sequence of four courses (14 total credits) through the sophomore and junior years designated at Industrial Engineering I, II, III and IV. These courses were intended to embrace all of the traditional industrial engineering topics in some logical sequence as worked out by the instructor.

While there was never a formal change to the Industrial Engineering faculty as to the direction or form the program was to take, by either the Dean of Engineering or accrediting agencies, it was understood that there was a need to introduce subject matter dealing with quantitative methods, more statistics, and opportunity to program and use computers. At the same time it was apparent that representatives from industry expected that the graduate have a solid grounding in the traditional subjects of Industrial Engineering, such as Methods, Engineering, Engineering Economy, Plant Layout, Statistical Quality Control, and Machine Processes.

At the same time that changes were being made in the undergraduate program, there was a parallel effort needed to promote and build a graduate program. Prior to 1957, no more than half a dozen Master of Science degrees in industrial engineering had been awarded at N.C. State. The goal was to develop as rapidly as possible a Masters program, emphasizing Quantitative Methods courses that would prove the new tools of industrial engineering. With the Masters program underway, and emphasis would then be directed toward assembling the resources, particularly faculty, that would enable the department to qualify for, and get approval to offer the Ph.D.

The stress by Industrial Engineering instruction on quantitative methods at the undergraduate level perhaps have impetus to the development in the School of Engineering of the curriculum in Engineering Operations (EO), a program patterned much after the traditional engineering where application and/or practice was considered of prime importance. In the late sixties, particularly while Joe Joseph directed the program, there was a startling build-up of enrollment, and for a limited time over 600 students were enrolled, with nearly 200 graduates each year. Since nearly all of the E.O. students were in the production option, (where the technical courses were offered by the IE Department faculty), the result was an unusually heavy teaching load in the department. While all of the faculty were called upon to assist in this teaching load, interim appointments of adjunct or visiting lecturers were made to handle the teaching assignments.

During Clifton A. Anderson's tenure as department head from 1957 to 1973, the doctoral program was proposed in 1965 and approved by the Board of Trustees in 1967. Subsequent department heads were William A. Smith, Jr. from 1973 to1982; Thom J. Hodgson from 1983 to 1990; Stephen D. Roberts from 1990 to 1999 and James R. Wilson from 1999 to the present.

In 2005 the department was renamed the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Currently the department offers two undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering (B.S.I.E) and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering Furniture Manufacturing Option (B.S.I.E. - F.M.O). In the graduate area the department offers a Master's of Industrial Engineering (M.I.E.), Master's of Science in Industrial Engineering (M.S.I.E) and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering.

NB: This historical note was pulled together from the departmental history located at http://www.ie.ncsu.edu/about/history.html.

Additional information and resources on the history of the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering can be found through the NCSU Historical State website external link.

List of Department Heads

1930 - 1938 Howard B. Shaw
1938 - 1942 Frank F. Groseclose
1942 - 1943 Howard B. Shaw
1943 - 1946 Ronald Wiggins, acting head
1947 - 1954 David E. Henderson
1955 - 1957 Robert G. Carson
1957 - 1973 Clifton A. Anderson
1973 - 1982 William A. Smith
1983 - 1990 Thom J. Hodgson
1990 - 1999 Stephen D. Roberts
1999 - James R. Wilson

Access to Collection

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Special Collections Research Center
Box 7111
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7111


(919) 515-2273


(919) 513-1787

Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item], Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, UA 105.013, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.

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