Augustana will launch an engineering program this fall, the college in Rock Island announced Thursday.
It will be the first Bachelor of Science the college will offer in its 161-year history.
“More and more, students are seeking an accredited engineering program to launch their careers full of natural curiosities and problem solving,” says Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow, provost at Augustana. “The opportunity to study engineering at a liberal arts institution is one we know will distinguish Augustana graduates in the workforce.”
The college referenced that students taking the Pre-SAT have reported an increased interest in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering is expected to see nearly 140,000 new jobs by 2026 with the bulk in civil and mechanical specialties — two tracks Augustana will offer.
The college said it will complete the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology process in 2025 upon graduating its first student. Students starting at Augustana in the fall of 2021 will be in the first cohort of graduates.
“Studying engineering at Augustana prepares graduates to enter a career with something unique,” says Dr. Nathan Frank, associate professor of physics. “An engineer with a liberal arts background has enhanced perspective, a strong ability to communicate and the distinctive opportunity to make connections where they did not yet exist.”
Augustana will offer tracks in mechanical, civil, and environmental and sustainability engineering.
Dr. Mike Augspurger has been picked to help lead the mechanical engineering track. He has been a visiting professor at Augustana for the last two years, working closely with Dr. Frank and Dr. Joshua Dyer, associate professor of engineering physics. The college plans to hire an additional engineering professor in 2022.
The engineering physics department will maintain a Bachelor of Arts in Engineering-Physics and 3+2 agreements with University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University and Purdue University.
“This is a great opportunity for Augustana and for the Quad Cities,” says Dr. Hilton-Morrow. “The world needs Augustana graduates and engineers, and now there is a formal program for both.”