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Otterbein Announces Engineering Major Beginning Fall 2015


Otterbein University announced it will offer a new major in systems engineering beginning in fall 2015. Students will have the option of enrolling in Otterbein’s four-year program or in a pathway program being developed in partnership with Columbus State Community College (CSCC).

See photos from the Feb. 6 news conference.

Ohio will need to fill 274,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs by 2018, and more than 12 percent of those jobs will be for people with degrees in Engineering, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011).

Research conducted by My College Options and STEMconnector and funded by Cisco Systems, Inc., found that 26.4 percent of high school students in Ohio are interested in STEM areas of study compared to 25.5 percent nationally. Of the STEM branches in Ohio, engineering was the top ranked at 12.3 percent, compared to the national average of 11.7 percent.

Systems engineering offers a broader-based training than more traditional engineering degrees. Otterbein’s program will be unique for its innovative and interdisciplinary curriculum; level of personal attention to students; and commitment to the liberal arts. Educators refer to it as an engineering education for the future.

According to the National Academy of Engineering’s report, The Engineer of 2020, tomorrow’s engineers “will need to be multidisciplinary; and social, cultural, political, and economic forces will impact technological innovation.”

“Integrative, multidisciplinary learning is Otterbein’s strength, and our curriculum combines the principles of mechanical, industrial and electrical engineering with our nationally-recognized Integrative Studies program. Otterbein engineers will be technically competent, have broad training and perspective, and will be well-positioned to solve problems in a wide range of contexts,” said Aaron Reinhard, assistant professor of physics and interim director of the systems engineering program.

“Otterbein continues to develop and launch innovative programs, like our zoo and conservation science program and now our new systems engineering program, that respond to students’ needs and interests, as well as to significant career opportunities upon graduation,” said Otterbein President Kathy Krendl. “The systems engineering program responds specifically to the needs of our region and our state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34,000 engineers will be needed in the State of Ohio by 2018. Otterbein graduates will help meet that need.”

“The Otterbein curriculum is geared to what most Worthington Industries facilities are looking for; a multidisciplinary engineer that can handle a wide range of plant engineering tasks,” said David Painter, operations manager at Worthington Steel.

“Modern engineers must consider not only design challenges, but also environmental, economic, and ethical challenges as well. We expect our engineers will be leaders and will be well-positioned to solve such many-faceted problems,” Reinhard added.

Otterbein and Columbus State Community College are collaborating on a pathway program that will allow students to begin their studies at Columbus State and complete their degrees at Otterbein.

“Columbus State Community College looks forward to the possibility for its students to segue into the Otterbein program via a pathway program in engineering. We continue to look at partnerships that bring affordable options to all students,” said Columbus State Community College President David Harrison.

For more information, visit www.otterbein.edu/systemsengineering.