Elon University launches engineering programs
Scott Wolter, associate professor of engineering, center, works with Elon University students Caitlin Niven and Michael Dryzer.
College students looking for well-paying jobs after graduation might consider engineering: Three of the top four majors for career prospects are in engineering fields, according to a 2017 Kiplinger’s report that studied pay, demand and long-term growth expectations. Now, Elon University aims to help fill some of those jobs by launching a four-year engineering degree program this fall.
The 6,800-student liberal-arts university in Alamance County already enrolls about 50 in a dual-degree engineering program, in which students spend three years at Elon before transferring to N.C. State, Clemson or one of seven other universities for another two years. That option will continue alongside the new program. Students in the four-year program will choose biomedical or computer engineering, or create a specialized concentration. Elon joins several other North Carolina universities that have added engineering programs in recent years, including Wake Forest in 2017 and Campbell in 2016.
Elon’s program aims to teach the requisite technical skills along with the development of “soft skills,” such as communications and critical thinking, according to associate professor Sirena Hargrove-Leak, director of the new program.
A fundraising effort is underway for a 30,000-square-foot, $12 million building that will include design workshops, classrooms and labs. Meanwhile, students will attend classes at the school’s existing science center.
Elon, with an annual price tag of $46,000 for undergraduates, has added more than 2,000 students since 2000. The engineering plan is among the last initiatives of President Leo Lambert, who steps down this month after 19 years. His successor is Constance Ledoux Book, previously provost at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.
ON THE ROCKS
About 130 of Rockwell Collins’ roughly 1,600 employees in Winston-Salem are losing their jobs as the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company shifts more production to the Philippines. Rockwell shareholders in January approved the company’s $30 billion proposed sale to United Technologies, announced in September. Rockwell entered Winston-Salem in April when it bought B/E Aerospace, a Florida-based maker of airplane seats and other cabin-interior products, for $8.6 billion.
Now, Rockwell will combine with United’s Charlotte-based UTC Aerospace division, formed when the company bought Goodrich in 2012. The day after the sale was announced, Rockwell CEO Kelly Ortberg told The Winston-Salem Journal, “There will be no local impact on staffing levels.” In a statement, a Rockwell spokesman says the recent layoffs were part of a cost-cutting initiative unrelated to the pending sale. Additionally, the company has shifted about 32 engineering and other jobs to Winston-Salem from Arizona.
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