University News

IBHE Approves Engineering, Nursing at WIU

October 7, 2008

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) today (Oct. 7) approved Western Illinois University's requests to offer a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree and the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

"The new engineering and nursing degrees are essential. They come at a time when there is a dire need for trained professionals both regionally and nationally," Provost Jack Thomas said. "We are excited to offer these new academic programs to our students, and to better serve the needs of our region and the state."

The 133-semester hour engineering degree will be delivered at the WIU-Macomb and WIU-Quad Cities campuses and will provide an integrated course of study. The program will be a plus-two degree completion program (junior and senior years) articulated with the pre-engineering transfer programs at the WIU-Macomb campus and community colleges in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. Western's Quad Cities-based engineering program will be linked to QC businesses through required internships, cooperative education experiences and capstone projects.

"The engineering degree addresses the need for engineers who have a strong grounding in multidisciplinary engineering fundamentals," noted College of Business and Technology Dean Tom Erekson. "We estimated that 30 students will enroll in the degree program during its first year, and we anticipate serving 120 majors by 2014."

The 125-semester hour BSN degree is designed for individuals who wish to become registered nurses and obtain a bachelor's degree. Western's BSN program will allow students to begin their education at WIU as a freshman in the pre-BSN option, complete two years of general education and nursing support courses, and apply for admission into the nursing major. In 2007, Western's Board of Trustees and the IBHE granted approval to Western to offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, RN-BSN completion degree program to allow associate degree and diploma nurses to develop skills for a higher level of nursing practice.

"This program fulfills the institution's goal to positively impact our region by meeting the educational needs of our communities," said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Inessa Levi. "The new degree program complements the RN-BSN program, which began this fall. We currently have six students enrolled in the RN-BSN major and anticipate 30 students enrolling in the new four-year program during its first year, with 135 majors within five years."

The engineering and nursing programs will begin in Fall 2009. A search will begin this fall for a School of Engineering director. Lea Monahan was named the director of Western Illinois University's School of Nursing in July 2007. Upon graduation, BSN students will be eligible to write for the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses.

"We are pleased to offer the new degree programs in nursing and engineering," said WIU President Al Goldfarb. "These programs further enhance our University's commitment to our Higher Values in Higher Education Strategic Plan and further support the University's core values of academic excellence and educational opportunity."

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Office of University Communications & Marketing