BUIES CREEK -- The Campbell University Board of Trustees has approved the addition of a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree program, proposed to begin in the fall of 2016, Campbell Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Mark L. Hammond announced on May 14.
The proposed new engineering program will expand the university’s mission to meet the workforce needs of North Carolina and diversify the university’s portfolio of academic programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, Hammond said.
“In recent years Campbell has become a regional leader in providing health education and in expanding access to health care in underserved areas, particularly rural communities,” said Jerry Wallace, president of Campbell University. “A Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree will provide another important dimension, allowing the university to support a scientifically- and technically-trained workforce critical to the state’s welfare.”
Between 50 to 80 percent of job growth in the United States is dependent on scientists and engineers, according to a 2010 report by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine (“Rising Above A Gathering Storm, Revisited”). Yet, only 2.7 percent of all engineers in the U.S. live and work in North Carolina, though the state is the 10th largest in the nation.
In addition, according to a Presidential Advisory Council report, colleges will need to produce a million more STEM graduates over the next decade, including those trained in engineering, to meet the expected U.S. workforce demands.
“The need for trained engineers is urgent, especially for North Carolina, which has a growing population and aging infrastructures,” Hammond said.
Campbell’s proposed engineering program will offer a single, integrated, engineering degree that focuses on sustainability, design and systems analysis in order to educate and train engineering generalists who will go on to be employed as licensed professional engineers or who will pursue graduate and professional studies.
“The general engineers Campbell produces will be prepared to address the wide range of ever-changing engineering challenges of the 21st century,” Hammond said.
Campbell’s proposed engineering program will initially emphasize preparing students to be general engineers, and concentrations may grow after the launch, particularly in areas that align with Campbell’s health sciences programs. Such concentrations could include bioprocessing and biomedical engineering, given that strong programs related to those fields already exist in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, and the School of Osteopathic Medicine.
“For decades, through strong science and math programs, Campbell has been addressing with great success and reputation the ‘M’ (mathematics) and ‘S’ (science) components of STEM, but not the ‘T’ (technology) and ‘E’ (engineering) segments,” Hammond said. “Engineering will allow the university to add to its menu of academic offerings while at the same time attract bright students who are certain to enhance our campus community.”
Trained engineers have one of the best job prospects of any profession. According to the National Science Foundation, the unemployment rate for engineers in 2012 was just 2 percent. In addition, Campbell’s location in the Research Triangle Region provides a significant strategic advantage for engineering graduates seeking internship and employment opportunities.
“Campbell has made substantial investments in health care, business and related programs over the past 25 years, and these investments have allowed us to increase undergraduate enrollment by nearly 75 percent,” said Britt Davis, Campbell’s vice president for institutional advancement and assistant to the president. “Engineering will be a wonderful complement to Campbell’s comprehensive and dynamic offerings in health sciences, business, and the liberal arts and sciences.
Campbell will seek approval to start an engineering program from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). If approved by SACSCOC, Campbell expects to enroll its first 50 engineering students in the fall of 2016, with 60 new students added the following year and 104 new students by 2020. When the program graduates its first students in May 2020, its annual total enrollment is expected to reach at least 220 students.
Campbell will also pursue accreditation by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) when eligible, which will be once its charter class of engineering students graduates.
“Today’s economy requires a highly-skilled workforce that can manage, navigate and spur advancements in science and technology and in innovation-driven industries,” Wallace said. “North Carolina’s economy needs more engineers. They are creative thinkers and problems solvers, and they’re an invaluable resource that collectively impacts every aspect of our lives. We look forward to the day in the very near future when Campbell-trained engineers take their place in this well-respected, indispensable profession.”