A new engineering major is currently in the proposal stage, and is planned to be rolled out by Fall of 2021.
This new major will be partnering with Clean Water Services, an organization responsible for treating wastewater throughout Washington County. The partnership will hinge on a new innovation center being built near fernhill wetlands that will have both lab and teaching spaces. Rebecca Concepcion,Associate Dean and Director of the School of Natural Sciences said, “Clean Water Services is very excited about the engineering program. The partnership will support engineering majors but it will also support some of the other science disciplines out there.”
Sarah Phillips, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, explains that the combination of an engineering degree with a liberal arts education is a growing desire for the engineering industry.“Employers and engineers have realized, ‘well it’s not enough to have the engineering skill, I need you to be able to think critically and write and speak.’ It’s the sort of thing that is the real hallmark of a liberal arts education,” she said. That’s not the only draw of bringing an engineering degree at Pacific, however. The engineering field is still predominantly white and male, but by bringing this major to Pacific, faculty and administration hope to change the fields demographic. “We have the potential to change what engineering is in the United States.” said Phillips.
A lot of the teaching for the engineering curriculum will be taught by Pacific’s current physics department. The new major will be brought into the College of Natural Sciences, and will be tightly linked with the physics department. There are plans to hire new staff to teach some of the courses, and possibly even having engineers from Clean Water Services teach a course.
There are big plans for this new major. It is one of President Lesley Hallick’s top 4 initiatives for her 2030 plan, and the team behind the movement are always on the lookout for more exciting partnerships. Concepcion said, “We’ve been in touch with industries in the area. What I see happening is once we get the engineering degree up and running, there will be partners who are really interested in mentoring.” With the current partnership with Clean Water Services, the College hopes to make use of the robust environmental department to hopefully develop an environmental or ecological engineering track.