Board of Regents to consider three new programs

Thaddeus Mast

Three new programs are expected to pass through the Board of Regents, broadening Iowa State’s engineering and design choices. All three are graduate programs.

The engineering program, Master of Engineering in Engineering Management, is to be a mix of half business and half engineering classes focused on the management side of an engineering career.

Gary Mirka, associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education for the College of Engineering, explained: “We find that many of our engineering graduates move into management positions as they progress through their career, and we’re finding that more and more of those graduates are finding a need to get some more training. This program will provide an engineering management perspective.”

The program will be available to a wide range of people, regardless of if they can physically be on Iowa State’s campus.

“Many of the courses we offer here on campus, but there are students who are interested in taking this through distance,” Mirka said. “Let’s say one of our graduates is now working at John Deere and they are interested in getting some training in management. This program would be made available to those folks through distance education. They could take these courses by getting the video feed through the distance program.”

This program was brought about mostly by alumni who, as they progressed through their career, realized that management skills are valued.

“We have a good market out there for this degree,” Mirka said.

The two design programs are Master of Urban Design and Master of Design in Sustainable Environments. Both of these will be one year long, with spring, summer and fall semester classes. These programs are also the first of their kind in the College of Design.

“These are the first interdisciplinary graduate degrees in design,” said Marwan Ghandour, associate dean for academic programs for the College of Design. “The degrees have been developed by faculty from different departments in the College of Design trying to enhance the dialogue between the different disciplines both on the student and faculty level.”

“Some courses pertaining to these subjects are currently taught separately in different departments,” Ghandour continued. “Developing these specializations as interdisciplinary degrees adds a unique quality that is not common nationally and will allow ISU College of Design to lead in this approach which is particularly important to future design practice.”

There are no programs like these in Iowa.

“Nationally, [Master of Urban Design] is a more common degree, while degrees pertaining to sustainability in design are on the rise,” Ghandour said. “However, these degrees are usually housed within a professional discipline, such as architecture or planning, unlike the proposed which are interdisciplinary.”

Unlike the engineering program, these two will only be available on campus.

All three programs should not put a cost strain on Iowa State, as the classes, faculty and facilities are already in place. They are packaging these classes differently, and this is what makes them unique.

Enrollment for these programs should begin sometime this fall.