By Libby Roerig
Indiana State University
The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) approved Indiana State University’s request to offer a Bachelor of Science in engineering on Thursday.
The engineering degree will provide three concentrations — mechanical, civil and industrial — and will prepare students to become licensed professional engineers. Each concentration will include 20 students, with the first freshman class starting in fall 2018.
“This new degree program was years in the making and the result of countless hours of research and preparation by our faculty and staff,” said Dan Bradley, president of Indiana State. “We’re pleased the ICHE has entrusted Indiana State to help answer the need for engineers in the state. This new program will provide practice-based experiences and create graduates who are ready to meet the needs of the industry.”
Among other documentation, Indiana State presented to the commission letters of support from aviation, construction and manufacturing businesses and trade groups, including FedEx, Duke Energy and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
“This new academic program will produce a ‘Jack-of-all-trades’ engineer who is essential to our manufacturing, aviation and aerospace sectors, among other industries,” said Provost Mike Licari. “There is a tremendous need in the industry for generalist engineers — generalists who not only possess the technical fundamentals but also have expertise in broad areas such as problem-solving, entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration.”
Indiana State already offers an engineering technology program, which is designed to train field engineers or those who implement the plans created by an engineer.
“This program is one of the most impactful accomplishments the College of Technology has achieved in the past 30 years,” said Bob English, dean of the college. “It’s a game changer and will certainly make the engineering technology program even stronger.”
First-year engineers start with salaries averaging $50,000-$60,000.
“A small- or medium-size firm often can’t afford to hire four or five specialized engineers, so one generalist is a better fit,” English said.
Civil engineers, which jobs are projected to grow by 7 percent in the state, have expertise in structural analysis and concrete design, wastewater and drinking water system design, transportation and traffic design and hydrology.
Mechanical engineers — projected state job growth of 15 percent — are trained in machinery dynamics and heat transfer analysis.
With a projected job growth of 7 percent in Indiana, industrial engineers focus more on the management side of manufacturing, including liability of machinery and other human factors of industry and operations.
“The College of Technology has doubled student enrollment and added six new programs in the past six years — while seeing great accomplishments in student success and retention,” English said. “With this new engineering program, we are committed to continuing that trend while adding under-represented students and graduates in a much-needed and high-paying field.”