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IBHE Approves Mechanical Engineering Degree at WIU

October 5, 2016

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL — At its Sept. 27 meeting, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved Western Illinois University's request to offer a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in the Western Region degree. Nearly eight years ago to the day today (on Oct. 7, 2008), the IBHE first approved Western's Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree.

The School of Engineering at WIU, which officially began at the WIU-Quad Cities campus in Fall 2009, currently offers a bachelor's degree in engineering. The new mechanical engineering program will begin in January 2017.

"The demand in the Quad Cities region for engineering is very high, with approximately 10,000 engineers and more than 1,000 engineering and manufacturing companies. The field of mechanical, manufacturing or industrial engineering is the primary discipline in high demand," said School of Engineering Director William Pratt. "The demand for engineering graduates will increase on average by 12 percent per year through 2022. Western's engineering program already has a significant mechanical engineering focus, and formed the basis for the new degree program."

The 120-semester hour mechanical engineering degree will be delivered at the WIU-Quad Cities campus.

"The engineering degrees that we offer at Western address the need for engineers, particular in the western region of the state," added College of Business and Technology Interim Dean William Bailey.

According to Pratt, the University projects approximately six graduates in the new mechanical engineering degree by May 2017, and will seek ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation with an initial visit in Fall 2017.

"The new program directly addresses goals of the Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success, which include increasing educational attainment to match best-performing states. Through this program, Western will provide much needed, well-trained mechanical engineers to the Quad Cities region and beyond," added WIU President Jack Thomas.

Pratt was named director of the WIU School of Engineering in Summer 2009 and the school first opened its doors in Fall 2009, in leased space, in the Caxton Block Building in downtown Moline, until the new Riverfront campus opened. A $1 million donation -- $500,000 each from The Moline Foundation and the John Deere Foundation -- supported the leased space and equipment. The Quad Cities Riverfront campus building one (Riverfront Hall) now houses the engineering labs. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering was accredited in 2012 (retroactive to November 2011) by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET.

The 120-semester hour engineering bachelor's degree is delivered primarily at Moline campus, with the freshman and sophomore years also offered in Macomb. The program offers a multidisciplinary program where students can focus in civil, computer-electrical, manufacturing-quality and materials engineering and engineering management. Mechanical engineering was also originally a focus through the general degree program. There are currently 167 majors within the engineering degree program.

Recently, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust provided a $161,000 grant to be used to re-purpose two existing spaces in Riverfront Hall into a modern computer-aided design (CAD) lab and an innovation lab. Elliott Aviation donated $10,000 to support electronics fabrication capabilities in the innovation lab.

Learn more about the School of Engineering at

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