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Degree in Engineering Initiated at SVC

Public Relations
Posted: Wednesday Jun 26, 2013

June 26, 2013

Saint Vincent College announced that it will offer a four-year, bachelor of science degree in engineering science beginning this fall.

The program will be offered by the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing and will prepare students for careers in engineering or to pursue advanced engineering degrees in the discipline of their choice.

The program was developed by Dr. Stephen Jodis, dean of the Boyer School, and Dr. Paul Follansbee, James F. Will Professor of Engineering Science, Dr. Daniele Arcara, assistant professor of mathematics, Dr. Daryle H. Fish, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Mohamed Anis Maize, professor of physics. The new program will take advantage of the expertise and engineering credentials already held by Jodis, Fish and Maize as well as Follansbee, who has more than 30 years of experience as a materials engineer and will serve as director of the program.

The new program will offer a general engineering degree. “We won’t focus on particular branches of engineering such as mechanical engineering or electrical engineering,” Follansbee noted. “Instead, we will pursue a curriculum that offers a broad background in thermodynamics, design, computation, materials, electrical, business and project management. Our approach will emphasize math and science with broad training in the development of problem-solving skills. And, in conjunction with Saint Vincent College’s liberal arts core curriculum, students will leave with strong communications and writing skills which are so important, as well as the values orientation that is part of our overall approach as a Catholic, Benedictine college. All of this will combine to provide an engineering degree that will serve students well in any professional setting.”

Because of the existing curriculum that Saint Vincent offers in its 3/2 engineering program and the engineering credentials held by current members of the Saint Vincent faculty, only one new faculty member, an engineering design specialist, will be needed to offer the new program. Saint Vincent will also acquire new software licenses for engineering programs to further support the engineering programs that are in common use in business and industry.

“With this new program, the College offers students another path toward a career in engineering and strengthens our existing programs,” commented Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. “Graduates from the program will be well-positioned for either entry-level general engineering positions or to enter advanced degree programs in graduate school.”

Saint Vincent, in conjunction with several university schools of engineering, has for many years and will continue to offer a five-year cooperative liberal arts and engineering program. Students typically spend three years at Saint Vincent concentrating on liberal arts subjects, general mathematics and science prerequisites and introductory engineering courses. Students then spend two years at an engineering college or university to fulfill the remaining engineering requirements. Upon satisfactory completion of all course work at Saint Vincent, students are guaranteed acceptance at University of Pittsburgh, Catholic University of America and to some programs at the Pennsylvania State University. Under this program, students receive two degrees: a bachelor of arts degree from Saint Vincent and a bachelor of science degree in the appropriate branch of engineering from the engineering school. This 3/2 cooperative program will continue to be offered along with the new engineering degree which can be completed at Saint Vincent.

“Our current 3/2 program has been very popular and graduates of the program have done very well in their careers,” Dr. Follansbee noted. “But, we know there are opportunities for more engineers especially in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. We surveyed many corporations in the region and they encouraged us to pursue this new program because they have difficulty recruiting engineers. Nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts strong growth potential in the field.”

“We intend to have a high-quality program,” Follansbee added, “that will seek to become accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) and to prepare graduates for the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam that is the first step to certification as professional engineers. We also plan to offer internships at many of the outstanding companies in the region to provide practical experience and preparation for rewarding future employment.”

“Saint Vincent currently has 55 students enrolled in its 3/2 engineering program,” Jodis noted. “Some of these students have already indicated that they will transfer into the new degree program because they want to stay at Saint Vincent. Others are welcome to do so if they wish. We conservatively predict that this new program will attract at least five new freshmen every year so enrollment will be healthy. Saint Vincent has a strong academic core curriculum, a strong foundation of science courses in the Boyer School and we will have outstanding engineering courses so it will combine to present an excellent option for prospective students.”

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Photo: Dr. Paul Follansbee, right, James F. Will Professor of Engineering Science and director of the bachelor of science degree in engineering science at Saint Vincent College, demonstrates a force table in the Fr. Roland Heid, O.S.B. General Physics Laboratory for Dr. Stephen Jodis, left, dean of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing, and Dr. John Smetanka, center, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. The new program begins this fall. 

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PR2013-191