Murray State adds new engineering program

Story by Miranda Carpenter, Staff writer 

“The approval of this program is a major milestone in Murray State’s academic history,”Mark Arant,  vice president of academic affairs, said.

On Nov. 16, Murray State was approved to become the fourth school in Kentucky to offer a Civil and Sustainability Engineering program.

Other schools in Kentucky that offer this program are the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University. Murray State stands alone by being the first school to be approved in Kentucky without any guidance from other universities. University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University partnered together for guidance when starting the program over the years at
their universities.

Danny Claiborne, chair of the Institute of Engineering, discussed what the University had to go through to get this program approved.

To approve this program, Claiborne said the council for postsecondary education required a pre-proposal to be submitted and posted to the council’s website for up to 45 days, during which time universities around the state commented with questions regarding the proposal. After the 45 days of the pre-proposal phase were fulfilled, a full proposal was submitted to be evaluated. The final step was to go to a CPE meeting on Nov. 16 to have the program approved.

The engineering faculty and staff thinks this new program will gain the interest of current college and high school students.

“We will now be able to attract talented students that would have chosen another
institution to pursue this degree,” Arant said.

The new program will be Murray State’s second engineering program, alongside engineering physics, to be on campus. The civil and engineering sustainability program can be found under the engineering umbrella starting in Fall 2019. Along with engineering physics, which has tracks in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering and advanced physics.

Current students who are interested are encouraged to speak with their advisers to discuss prerequisite classes to prepare for the Fall 2019 semester.

“The program makes a statement about the University’s willingness to invest in its students,” Arant said. “It is the investments in academics and our students which will set Murray
State apart.”

Murray State’s engineering program has existed for the past 40 years and has been an accredited program for the past 25 years.

According to Murray State’s website, the engineering physics program is EAC/ABET accredited and one of only 22 programs nationwide that carry this prestigious accreditation.

“Our plan is to allow freshmen to start in this program in the fall and after a four-year period, the University will immediately seek accreditation for the new program to allow students to become licensed civil engineers,” Claiborne said.  “If approved for accreditation, those students that started the program as freshmen will get the opportunity to become a licensed engineer anywhere in the United States.”

The program will include multiple engineering techniques such as structural engineering, sustainable engineering and use of materials for constructing and designing different buildings and roads for transportation.

“Some of the reasons why this program was developed and why we wanted to progress with this program was the initiative from Gov. Bevin that we need more engineering programs offered at universities all across the state,” Claiborne said. “So in some ways we are trying to respond to what the state and the governor is trying to accomplish.”

Murray State continues to support the engineering industry by producing more engineers in western Kentucky.

“This accomplishment, while great for the University, really speaks well of the faculty and staff of Murray State,” Arant said. “The creativeness and the bravery to transform a dream into reality for the benefit of current and future generations. This is a major reason Murray State is and will be one of the best regional institutions in the country.”

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