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Ohio Northern University Meets Critical Need in Engineering Teacher Prep
University unveils plans to launch one of nation’s first undergraduate degrees in Engineering Education
Ada, OH (March 8, 2011) –Today the T.J. Smull College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University announced that it will offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Education beginning in the fall of 2011.
The degree program will be the first of its kind in Ohio and one of the first in the nation. The program directly addresses the need to develop a new generation of high school students who can contribute to solving our nation’s challenges through engineering and innovation. The four-year engineering degree will prepare graduates to become licensed secondary math teachers but with a more specialized perspective than teachers who have a traditional education diploma.
“Our nation is pushing for an increased focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in K-12 environments,” said Eric Baumgartner, dean of the T.J. Smull College of Engineering. “This degree will enable us to introduce teachers into school systems who have an inherent appreciation of engineering and the ability to integrate math and science along with engineering analysis and design into the classroom.”
Teachers with this degree will be the front-line advocates for engineering careers, which, according to research, have not been adequately communicated to high school students. Ohio Northern’s program will help maintain America’s place as a global leader in science and technology by graduating educators who will inspire young people to pursue higher education and careers in engineering.
“When we empower teachers to encourage their students to discover what engineering is all about – dimensions of creativity, innovation, impact on society and an entrepreneurial mindset – then we’re going to have totally different prospective students knocking on our door,” Baumgartner said.
The program combines a general engineering degree with the required education and math courses to earn a teaching certification, but it also offers opportunities beyond the high school classroom. Graduates can pursue job opportunities in corporate sales, training or even careers in science and technology museums. Graduates will also be able to seek out traditional engineering careers or go on to graduate school.
The reception by high schools has been very positive. Baumgartner has had informal discussions with superintendents across Ohio and all have been incredibly excited about the long-term effect the degree could have on their STEM programs.
“This degree has the potential to be transformational to our educational system,” said Jeffrey McClellan, principal for Cleveland’s MC2 STEM High School. “Engineers have a unique approach to solving problems and our students need to be taught from that perspective. When these skills are systematically applied in the classroom then students will be more prepared to compete in the 21st century.”
Most importantly, Ohio Northern says this new degree answers President Obama’s recent call for the cultivation of more STEM teachers and will act as a mechanism to strengthen national middle and high school pre-engineering programs - like Project Lead The Way (PLTW) – that are already in place.
The ability to offer such an innovative degree provides a niche for Ohio Northern. Where most engineering schools may pour resources into the creation of graduate programs, Ohio Northern has decided to invest in what it knows best.
“This degree really goes back to the roots of our institution,” Baumgartner said. “Ohio Northern started in 1871 as a school for teachers and now we have come full circle, educating teachers to take the passion of engineering back out into the classrooms.”
Ohio Northern University was founded in 1871 and is a private University comprised of five colleges including Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Pharmacy and Law. More than 3,500 students attend the campus located on 342 acres in Ada, Ohio. The University has received recognition for its teaching quality, high placement rates for its graduates, commitment to volunteer service and its high return on investment to graduates.
For four consecutive years, the T.J. Smull College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University has been ranked as one of the nation’s top 50 undergraduate engineering schools in America’s Best Colleges (2011) by U.S. News & World Report. The college offers engineering and computer science students the unique combination of a scientific and technically based major within the context of a liberal arts education. More information at onu.edu/engineering.