Elon to launch four-year engineering degree in fall 2018
The new program will enable students to complete their engineering education on the Elon campus and choose from a variety of academic concentrations.
Elon will introduce a new four-year bachelor’s degree in engineering this fall, combining a rigorous curriculum with the university’s historically strong foundational courses in the arts and sciences and Elon’s signature engaged learning experiences.
The new degree will join Elon’s existing dual-degree engineering program that provides students the opportunity to spend their first three years at Elon before moving to a partner institution for an additional two years of study, earning degrees from both institutions. In the new bachelor’s degree program, students can earn an Elon engineering degree while remaining on campus throughout their undergraduate education.
Engineering students will be able to choose a concentration in biomedical engineering, computer engineering or develop their own specialized concentration. As with other majors, students will be able to complete minors in a variety of disciplines, such as business, entrepreneurship, professional writing and rhetoric or a world language.
“Engineers are being called upon to identify and solve increasingly complex problems in today’s world, and learning in an arts and sciences environment provides them the necessary background to do that,” said Elon Provost Steven House. “Elon has built a unique undergraduate engineering curriculum that promises to produce graduates who will be in high demand in the professional marketplace.”
Elon is expanding its options for engineering students at a time when engineers are in high demand. Sirena Hargrove-Leak, associate professor of engineering and director of the four-year program, said there is a need for new engineering talent to address the problems of aging infrastructure at the same time that the population of engineering professionals is growing older.
Elon’s new program is designed to equip students with the technical knowledge and skills they need to solve engineering problems while also providing “soft skills” such as communication, critical thinking and teamwork.
Hargrove-Leak said the engineering curriculum requires courses that will provide students with a strong math and science foundation, with a focus on developing the technical ability to apply their knowledge to solve problems. The new program will also allow engineering students to fully engage in the Elon Experiences, including internships, global study, undergraduate research, service and leadership.
“The development of ‘soft skills’ and a broad range of enriching experiences is where the real value lies in majoring in engineering at a university with strong programs in the arts and sciences,” Hargrove-Leak said.
Now located in the Dalton L. McMichael Sr. Science Center, the engineering program will eventually move into a second science-centered building that the university is planning to locate adjacent to McMichael. The building will feature design workshops for engineering students; classrooms for lectures, seminars and group work; laboratories and lab prep spaces; and research pods with equipment and research materials. Planning and fundraising for the new building are ongoing.
“Having a specially designed facility for students to do hands-on work that models the work of practicing engineers will be important as the program develops and enrollment expands,” Hargrove-Leak said.
Elon is pursuing national accreditation of its four-year degree program through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the accrediting body for engineering programs in the United States, and anticipates the program will be reviewed for accreditation in 2020.