Indiana Daily Student

?Committee to explore engineering program at IU-Bloomington

An engineering program might be coming to IU-Bloomington, so the University is exploring its options.

IU recently formed a blue ribbon review committee to assess the feasibility of establishing and expanding an engineering program at ?IU-Bloomington.

The Bicentennial Strategic Plan, released in October, stated IU’s intent to explore the establishment of an engineering program at IU.

Of the 62 universities in the Association of American Universities, only four do not have programs in engineering, according to the plan. Of those four, two have joint programs in engineering with other ?institutions.

A report released by Battelle, a nonprofit research and development organization, recommended that IU expand and develop an engineering program at IU-Bloomington, according to the plan.

James Duderstadt, president emeritus and professor of science and engineering at the University of Michigan, will be the chair of the blue ribbon review committee, according to the University.

Duderstadt also served as Michigan’s provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1986 to 1988 and dean of the college of engineering from 1981 to 1986.

Anita Jones, professor emerita of computer science and engineering at the University of Virginia, and Eric Grimson, Bernard Gordon Professor of medical engineering and chancellor for academic advancement at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will also join Duderstadt on the blue ribbon review committee, according to the University.

“I am delighted that three such renowned figures in engineering and higher education have agreed to serve on the blue ribbon committee to assess the feasibility of ?IU-Bloomington’s plans for ?establishing an engineering program,” IU President Michael McRobbie said in a press ?release.

Adding to the work of the external blue ribbon review committee will be the work of an internal task force composed of 10 IU-Bloomington faculty with chair Robert Schnabel, dean of the IU School of Informatics and ?Computing.

“The task force is charged with making an initial proposal for an engineering program at IU-Bloomington, including areas of emphasis, academic degrees, resources required, a structure and a timetable,” Schnabel said.

The members of the internal task force will then deliver the initial proposal to McRobbie by Dec. 15 and to the blue ribbon review committee, whose members will give their reactions and add their suggestions by early 2015, Schnabel said.

Rather than focus on infrastructure-intensive areas of engineering, such as aeronautical, chemical, civil, industrial and mechanical, the engineering program will focus on Information Technology-intensive areas of engineering to collaborate with the School of Informatics and Computing and build on chemistry and physics programs, according to the plan.

“A number of areas that we teach and research in (the School of Informatics and Computing) intersect with engineering,” Schnabel said.

The expansion and establishment of an engineering program at IU-Bloomington is part of a larger initiative to increase IU’s contribution to the economic development of Indiana, according to the plan.

“An engineering program at Indiana University Bloomington is vital if the campus is to reach its fullest potential in providing students with relevant and rewarding educational opportunities,” McRobbie said in the release. “Such a program, based on our strong traditions of critical analysis, creativity, innovation and exploration, will substantially enhance our ability to increase Indiana’s economic competitiveness and support a culture of entrepreneurism all across the state.”

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