A new engineering major will be considered by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) after the Indiana State University Board of Trustees gave it the nod at their meeting on Dec. 16.
The Bachelor of Science degree in engineering will offer three concentration options of civil, industrial and mechanical and will help fill a growing demand for engineering professionals. Housed in the College of Technology, the new major will build on the already successful engineering technology programs there, an ISU news release reported.
The state has a critical need for engineers, as the Indiana Department of Workforce Development predicts engineering fields will grow 6.5-15 percent (depending on type of work) through 2022. This in-demand profession is also a well-paid one, as median salaries are $70,000.
“The new Bachelor of Science degree in engineering will expand Indiana State University’s offerings to help meet the future needs of the industry in the community, state and region, complementing the robust engineering technology programs already in place,” said Randy Peters, chair of the applied engineering technology management program. “The addition of the engineering program will also provide a pathway to increased research activity, further expanding our opportunities to serve our constituents.”
A cornerstone of the program will be a sustained effort to recruit underrepresented students into the field of engineering. This major will improve diversity of the engineering workforce, a need stressed by industry and one that aligns with the core values of Indiana State.
College of Technology faculty worked not only with industry partners but also with engineering consultants such as Robert Warrington and John Steadman. The consultants will help assure the program will obtain the coveted accreditation of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Additionally, the college utilized the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Vision 2030 document to help frame the new degree. Warrington was the lead author on the Vision 2030 report.
A student who completes the program will be able to provide solutions that solve global challenges, expand disciplinary boundaries and facilitate rapid technological innovation. The vast array of evidence collected prior to the creation of the degree pointed to the need for a new more moldable engineer as well as a sustained effort to recruit minorities and women into the profession.
“This program is the first of its kind in Indiana and is just one more way Indiana State and the College of Technology is working to not only produce a highly skilled workforce but also help the state meet its goal of increasing the number of residents with a bachelor’s degree,” said Robert English, dean of the College of Technology.
Mike Licari, Indiana State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, commended the College of Technology for their ongoing efforts to keep pace with rapid changes in their respective fields.
“Faculty and staff throughout the university work hard to stay on top of their fields,” Licari said. “It is no surprise that some of the most rapid change has come in technology. It is also no surprise that our talented professionals in these areas not only keep pace with that change, but often lead the way in developing new programs. I am excited about this new program, and what it will do for ISU, our students, and the state of Indiana.”
If approved by the ICHE, the new engineering major would take effect fall 2017.