IN THE SPOTLIGHT
CU-Boulder extends mechanical engineering degree to Western Slope
Students at Mesa State College in Grand Junction are gearing up to participate in the first engineering baccalaureate program to be delivered entirely on Colorado’s Western Slope. The program, approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education Nov. 13, is the result of a new partnership extending CU-Boulder’s accredited degree in mechanical engineering to help meet the needs of communities across the state.
“Students from the Western Slope, including many who are first-generation college students or from low-income families, now have access to a premier education in engineering without needing to move to the Front Range or out of state,” said Robert Davis, dean of engineering at CU-Boulder. “This new program is timely and fits with the strategic mission of our college and CU to serve the needs of Colorado in many ways.”
The coordinated degree program has attracted 46 pre-engineering students this fall. The students, who must meet CU-Boulder’s admissions requirements either at the outset or by the beginning of their sophomore or junior year, will enjoy small class sizes and more contact with faculty while participating in an engineering program of the same quality as that delivered on the CU-Boulder campus.
Students will take their first two years of classes, including math, science, humanities, social sciences, writing and basic engineering classes from Mesa State faculty. Upper-level mechanical engineering classes, including lecture, laboratory and capstone design coursework needed to fulfill the engineering degree requirements will be taught by CU-Boulder faculty at Mesa State beginning in fall 2010.
Western Slope business leaders have expressed strong interest in hiring engineering students and believe that a program delivered in Grand Junction will not only help stimulate local economic growth but will also increase the likelihood that program graduates will seek employment within the region rather than migrating to Colorado’s Front Range or elsewhere.
Mechanical engineering is a highly versatile degree that allows graduates to work in a variety of areas and industries upon graduation. It is the largest degree program in CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, and is currently enrollment-limited on the Boulder campus due to high demand. Students participate in hands-on engineering design projects beginning in their freshman year and continuing through senior capstone design projects.
CU-Boulder plans to hire three new faculty over the next two years to deliver mechanical engineering courses at Mesa State. The coordinated degree program is funded through a combination of resources, including support from Mesa State College, CU-Boulder, the CU President’s Office, and a major gift from CU-Boulder alumnus S. John Archuleta.
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