New ‘standalone’ engineering major replaces previous 3/2 program

For the 2017-2018 academic school year, Baldwin Wallace University has added a new engineering program to their list of academic majors.

This program will be based around a generalized overview of engineering, with later hopes for the University to eventually add 30 to 40 set majors branching off of engineering within the program, said Assistant Provost Guy Farish.  The new program is designed to give the students the opportunity to eventually qualify for their engineering license.  Hopefully, this program will bring “prestige to the university and strengthen the relationships between partners,” Farish said.

Before this program was put into place, BW had a partnership with Cleveland State University for the students who desired to go into engineering fields.  This was a 3/2 program where students would finish their undergrad at BW in 3 years and then go on to CSU for the remaining 2 years to receive their master’s in engineering.

Now, with this major put in place at BW, it will be a “stand-alone” program with students getting their degree and general education all at BW, Farish said.  This program “will favor a lot of really interesting interdisciplinary work that a lot of students are wanting to do and work alongside of their professors,” Farish said.

Since creating this new major program, BW is planning for a restructuring of buildings to house this major.  The new engineering major will be housed with the math and computer science majors in the new building, which is set to begin construction early this May, and be up and running in the spring of 2020.

The new building will be located on north campus, next to the Center of Innovation and Growth (CIG), on the corner Front Street and 5th Street.  By building this new location to house the new program, this will also free up space for other programs and majors, according to Farish.

This year, Dr. Helen Muga became the first professor hired to the new engineering program.  With her experience in the engineering field, Muga was able to help the University with refining the curriculum.  The university also recently hired a new faculty member in applied mathematics, who will also take part in the engineering program.  Within the years to come, the staff and faculty involved in the hiring process is looking to expand the number of engineering faculty members, said Farish, with hopes of gaining a third faculty.

Currently there are about 10 to 12 students enrolled in this major.  Among the few is sophomore student athlete, Ty McKinney.

“I came to BW because I was recruited for baseball, but I also had an interest in engineering, so I am happy that I get to do both,” McKinney said.

Some students may like the BW small campus feel and want to major in engineering but since the University did not previously offer it as a major this has turned students away from the school.  Emily Sukalac, sophomore and currently the first student to declare engineering as their major, will take place in the very first engineering cohort at BW.

“I was excited to have an actual engineering major on campus because I really wanted to go to BW and get a degree in what I wanted to do, instead of having to get a degree in physics or other majors closely related,” Sukalac said. “The program has given me the opportunity to apply what I am learning in class to various projects that I do on the side.”

In return, with hopes of marketing the University to those students with an interest in engineering, BW hopes to gain an increase in involvement, said Farish.