BY JOANNE KERSTEN
The question “What is your major?” is no stranger to college students. However this year at Franciscan University some students might be surprised to hear the answer of 15 brave freshmen.
Due to huge interest from former and prospective students alike, Franciscan has decided to implement a pre-engineering program for incoming students. Dr. Alexander Sich, who has a doctorate in nuclear engineering from MIT, said that the new program is demanding and “fosters academic excellence though rigorous course work in mathematics, science, and engineering.”
In the past, Franciscan offered a four-year degree in engineering science, which focused on the application of scientific knowledge to the resolution of practical problems. The new pre-engineering program differs from the discontinued engineering science program in that it prepares students to enter a full-blown engineering program at another university.
After attending Franciscan University for two or three years, those pre-engineering students with qualifying GPAs will automatically enter an engineering program at one of the following three universities that have partnered with Franciscan: the University of Notre Dame, the University of Dayton, and Gannon University.
The Franciscan students will complete their undergraduate engineering degree at one of these three schools as the next step on the road to becoming engineers. These students will actually receive two degrees: the first from Franciscan, the second from the partner school of their choice.
Dr. Sich believes the pre-engineering program will also help to “generally strengthen the natural sciences and mathematics at Franciscan University, concurrently raising the entering student-body profile.”
He also said that the potential for growth is quite significant, noting that physics has been expanded to two tracks, and chemistry lab sections are increasing to accommodate more students.
In addition to Dr. Sich and Dr. Derek Doroski, who holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, another engineering faculty member specializing in electrical engineering is being sought for hire.
The pre-engineering program is one example of how Franciscan University plans to continue preparing its students to “make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19)” through the various work environments their graduates may enter.