University News

WIU-QC Engineering Program Ribbon-Cutting

August 19, 2009

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Nearly one year ago, Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved Western Illinois University's longstanding plan to offer a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. Today (Aug. 19), officials from Western Illinois University, the City of Moline, Renew Moline, the Quad Cities Illinois Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations brought that plan full-circle when the Caxton Block Building in Moline (IL) was dedicated as the new temporary home for the WIU engineering degree program.

Western begins offering a Bachelor of Science in Engineering this fall at the Caxton Building, which is an extension of the WIU-Quad Cities 60th Street campus. Once Building One on the WIU-QC Riverfront Campus is completed, the engineering program will relocate to that campus.

"We are deeply appreciative of the John Deere Foundation and the Moline Foundation that have, along with many others, contributed significant gifts that have made this day possible," said Vice President for the Quad Cities, planning and technology Joe Rives. "Our move to the Caxton Block Building is so important as we prepare for our ultimate move to the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus."

In Spring 2009, WIU-Quad Cities received a $1 million gift from the Moline and John Deere Foundations to assist with funding the program's facilities. The Caxton Block Building houses four multimedia classrooms, including a seminar room equipped with video conferencing capability; a small instrumentation lab for research; two state-of-the-art engineering computer labs; faculty and staff offices; and student meeting and study spaces.

"These collaborative relationships further Western's mission of providing a quality, affordable public education to the residents of this region, and this new program builds on the University's traditions of academic excellence and educational opportunity," said President Al Goldfarb. "I'd like to thank everyone who has made this program a reality."

The new program is designed as a 2+2 program that articulates with pre-engineering programs at community colleges in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, which allows students maximum transferability to WIU. According to School of Engineering Director William Pratt, the degree program requires a total of 121 to 129 semester-hours depending on the requirements of the community college pre-engineering degree program.

"Students completing our general engineering degree receive a broad fundamental foundation in engineering and are expected to enter the workforce, gain invaluable working knowledge, and continue their specialization with graduate schooling," Pratt said. "In fact, by January 2015 graduates will be required to have 30 hours of advanced schooling or a master's degree to gain a professional license as an engineer. This is why we've structured our degree the way we have. It serves the broad interests of the region, and results in well-trained engineers who can work effectively with the technology of the 21st century and are suited for companies big and small."

According to College of Business and Technology Dean Tom Erekson, Western's engineering degree addresses the demand – and need – for engineers who have a strong grounding in multidisciplinary engineering fundamentals.

"This program positively impacts our region by meeting the educational needs of our communities," Erekson added. "We are excited that the program is beginning this fall and look forward to welcoming more students in the spring."

Pratt added that the program incorporates design and teamwork throughout the curriculum, with numerous opportunities for practical, hands-on experiences. The program is linked to QC businesses, industries and the Midwest Intellectual Property Institute through required internships and senior capstone design projects.

"We, the faculty and staff, pledge our best efforts and are working hard to build on this foundation. We are a new program with an absolutely critical regional need," he noted. "Engineering has always been and always will be a key economic engine for the economy. One of my favorite quotes to the students is this: 'Scientists discover the way the world is … engineers design the world that never was!'"

For more information about the Western Illinois University engineering degree, visit Prospective students interested in learning more about program and transferring to WIU-QC may call Western's Quad Cities admissions at (309) 762-3999.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing