Wednesday is the first day of fall quarter, and the first day for some new engineering programs at Western Washington University.
Western’s Engineering Technology Department is now the Engineering and Design Department. Three programs within the department changed: Electronics Engineering Technology became Electrical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering Technology became Manufacturing Engineering, and Plastics Engineering Technology became Plastics Engineering.
The change is geared toward accreditation. The new programs will be accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission–the previous programs weren’t.
“Switching to engineering allows us to have programs with stronger math and science foundations, which allows us to do more at the upper division level,” Department Chair Jeff Newcomer said in an email.
Along with the changes for accreditation, faculty made other changes to improve the department, Newcomer said.
“We’re taking the opportunity to make some other changes,” Newcomer said. “We think it’s going to produce students who are better prepared.”
The Electric Engineering program will be able to accommodate six more students, a 25 percent increase in size compared to the former program. The other two new programs will be the same size as the programs they’re replacing.
“We will likely look to make them also a bit larger in a year or so once we complete our final faculty search successfully,” newcomer said.
The department is currently looking to hire one new faculty member. In total, the department switch created five new faculty positions, but only four have been hired so far.