Board of Trustees approves new undergraduate engineering program
BY BILLY LIGGETT
In starting several health science programs in the past five years, Campbell University sought to meet a need in North Carolina, a state where too many counties are without physicians and too many citizens are without local, reliable health care options.
Now Campbell is ready to set its sights on science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the national need for more STEM graduates entering an increasingly global and technology-dominated workforce.
In 2016, the University will offer a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree, with the likelihood that concentrations in the field will grow after the initial launch. Campbell will seek approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges prior to starting the program, and accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology will be sought.
“For decades, through strong science and math programs, Campbell has been addressing with great success and reputation the ‘M’ and ‘S’ components of STEM, but not the ‘T’ or ‘E’ segments,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Mark Hammond. “Engineering will allow the University to diversify its academic offerings while at the same time attract bright students who are certain to enhance our campus community.”
According to a recent study by the Higher Education Research Institution, 38 percent of all college freshmen in the U.S. studied or were planning to study science or engineering in 2010. Eleven percent of those freshmen majored in engineering.
Early projections for Campbell’s program have about 50 students enrolled in engineering in the fall of 2016, with 60 new students the following year and 104 new students by the year 2020. The number of cumulative students by that time should reach 220-plus, figuring in a 65-percent retention rate and approximately 40 students graduating each year starting in May 2020.
According to Hammond, possible concentrations in Campbell’s engineering program will be related to the University’s ever-growing health sciences programs.
“Possible fields include bioprocessing and biomedical engineering, given that outstanding programs related to these concentrations already exist in the College of Arts & Science, the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and the School of Osteopathic Medicine,” he said.
In its presentation to the Board of Trustees, the University published a 20-page report to pitch the program. Among the benefits of the program, the report listed:
- Attracting students with higher-than-average math and analytical skills
- Providing an academic program that will provide new career opportunities for students
- Strengthening existing programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, particularly in math and physics
- Attracting more out-of-state students interested in attending a private, faith-based institution
- Creating another program that will help fill a need in the nation’s workforce (while 50 to 80 percent of job growth in the U.S. is dependent on scientists and engineers, just 2.7 percent of all engineers in the U.S. live and work in North Carolina.
The report also states that the unemployment rate for engineers was just 2 percent in 2012.
“Engineers are creative thinkers and problem solvers,” Hammond said. “They are an invaluable resource that collectively impact every aspect of our lives.”