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Four Year Engineering Degree Now Offered at Penn State DuBois

7/9/2010 —

DuBois – A momentous decision at the meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees Friday granted approval for a four year, or baccalaureate, degree program in engineering to be offered at Penn State DuBois.  Though the campus has offered associate programs in engineering for decades, this is the first time students will be able to earn their baccalaureate degree in engineering in DuBois. 


"This is an incredible achievement for our campus, and our engineering faculty who have worked so hard to make this program a reality," said Chancellor Anita McDonald.  "This will open up enormous educational opportunities for people interested in engineering in this area." 


In fact, the program has been built upon the needs of people and industry in Central Pennsylvania.  Titled, General Engineering, with an Applied Materials Track, the program offers a concentration on Powder Metals (PM), a strong industry in the Tri-County area.


"We have had companies and students alike requesting this program in the area for some time," said Penn State DuBois Continuing Education Director John Piccolo.  "In the four year program they'll do much more research work, and learn much more about research and development than they can in a two year program. That will make a difference, and give companies graduates who will be able to do quality R and D [research and development] for them." 


Assistant Professor of Engineering Craig Stringer echoed Piccolo's comments, explaining, "We'll offer the intellectual component more so than an associate degree program.  We'll teach more theory in the classroom, and then go and apply that theory in the labs."    


Stringer also noted the advantage local students will have in getting local jobs.  "It gives them the opportunity to stay at home if they choose, giving them the skills they need to jump right into a regional industry," he said.  He explained how this also benefits the local PM industry.  "We've heard from local manufacturers that they're looking for individuals with a certain skill set.  We're trying to fill that need," he said. 


Piccolo said many graduates of the Penn State DuBois Associate in Engineering program have been waiting for this degree to be offered, so they can further their education close to home as returning adult students. 


"It is really significant that a lot of the potential students are already working and have families in this area," Piccolo said.  "This will allow them to obtain a degree while still employed at their current job." 


However, Stringer noted that the program will provide opportunity to anyone wishing to look for jobs elsewhere, too. 


"It covers a variety of engineering fields.  We really put breadth and depth into the degree, so if students want to take another track, or concentration, outside of the applied materials track offered here, they can do that," Stringer explained.  " The first two years of this program compliment many of Penn State’s College of Engineering degrees  giving  students a foundation of courses that work with degree such as electrical, mechanical, ceramics and a lot more."


Stringer noted that Penn State Hazelton will offer the same program with a track in alternative energy, answering a need for their region, which is populated with wind farms and other energy sources. 


Stringer wrote the curriculum for the program along with a colleague from Penn State Hazelton, Associate Professor in Engineering Wes Grebski. 


"It shows how versatile this program really is," Stringer said.  "It works so well to answer the needs of both our area, and Hazelton's area, by just interchanging nine of the core track courses.  You could really take any concentration that you want to with this program.  It's plug and play."


Students can begin to enroll in the new engineering baccalaureate program this fall.  For enrollment information, contact Missy Duttry at (814) 375-4720, or mab1@psu.edu


To learn more about the program, visit http://dubois.psu.edu/GeneralEngineering 

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