UMSL, WUSTL renew joint engineering program

The University of Missouri–St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis have renewed the Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program for another five years. The program was first approved in 1993 by the two universities and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education in Missouri.

The goal of the partnership is consistent with the mission of UMSL, which is to provide a high-quality education to enhance the occupational and professional careers of citizens in the entire region, including minorities and economically disadvantaged populations and provide a well-trained workforce for the region.

While in the program, UMSL students complete their pre-engineering and breadth requirements at UMSL before taking upper-level engineering classes in the evenings at Washington University. Students can earn degrees in civil, electrical or mechanical engineering. All degrees are granted by the University of Missouri.

Bernard Feldman, associate dean of the program, said the joint program benefits both institutions.

“It’s great that the two institutions came to an agreement to continue the program which is one of the first of its kind in the nation to combine public and private universities,” Feldman said. “This helps UMSL students get access to the Washington University engineering programs at UMSL prices, and allows WU to utilize their facilities in the evenings as well as during the day.”

Joseph O’Sullivan, dean of the program and the Sachs Professor of Electrical Engineering at Washington University, said this program brings together the strengths of both universities to educate engineers for the St. Louis region.

“Through this program, we support the engineering and high technology industries in St. Louis,” he said.

Carlo Morello, now a systems engineer at The Boeing Company in St. Louis, said the joint program is an affordable approach to receiving a high quality engineering degree.

“It gives each student the flexibility to work full time while earning their degree alongside some very bright students and faculty,” said Morello, who graduated in 2003.  “Most importantly, the presence of Washington University provides visibility to high profile employers who recruit through them so that you can get to work as soon as, or in my case, four months before I finished my degree.”

Debbie Wright, who earned her civil engineering degree in 2004, believes the joint program fills a real need in St. Louis for nontraditional engineering students.

“A lot of people can’t go to school during the day because they work,” said Wright, who is a staff engineer for the City of Maryland Heights, Mo. “It was wonderful to get a world-class education at an affordable price.”

Since 1993, more than 440 students have graduated from the program. Of that, approximately 10 percent are African-American and 16 percent are women. The National Science Foundation reports the national average is five percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Graduates of the program work at numerous well-known companies, including the Ameren Corporation, Anheuser-Busch InBev, AT&T, Boeing Company, HOK Inc., Verizon Communications and Wells Fargo Advisors.

More information:
http://www.umsl.edu/divisions/engineering/

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