What Makes Us Different?

A caring, Christ centered, learning community

In practice this means we encourage and facilitate a place where each person cares as much about their fellow classmates’ success as their own. Taking Christ’s attitude of service into the classroom yields an environment where students will learn important things from each other and industry representatives as well as from their professors. Learning is a “holy” activity that is liberating, challenging, fun and equips one for life of service. “God uses prepared people.”

Both “excellent” and “average” students will have opportunities for growth

The true test of an excellent program is not how many A+ students are sent on to top graduate schools, (Although, I have had my share of those – MIT, Oregon Graduate Institute, Penn State, Stanford, University of Colorado, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, etc.), rather, can a program take an “average C to B student” and produce a very good engineer. A+ students are made better engineers by being around and both teaching and learning from students with different capabilities and strengths other than their own. More “average” students can achieve amazing things when their strengths and weaknesses are identified early and they have an opportunity to contribute with their strengths and receive additional attention in their areas of weakness. A recent Cambridge study highlighted a controversial fact: expertise is developed not born. One former student of the dean who had a “D” in his first year of engineering mathematics received personal help and is now the head engineer at a company producing state of the art supercomputers that fit in a briefcase.

Hands on, team oriented design projects all four years

Starting with a design project in their freshman year and culminating with a yearlong, cross disciplinary, industry supervised capstone design project their senior year, all of our students will be able to practice their passion to work with things and not just ideas. An emphasis will be on team projects, which in order to be successful will require students to learn how to communicate and to draw out the abilities of each person on the team.

Required internships with industry or a non-profit organization

One of the most important parts of your college training will be the learning that you do in a real engineering job. You will have a special course to prepare you for this “first engineering job.” Although the school maintains relationships with many industries in the area that offer internships and will facilitate your finding an internship wherever you are from, ultimately the responsibility will be yours. Your official internship will be the summer of your junior year, although other opportunities may occur for you to work in industry. You will be required to turn in an executive summary of your work to your boss and present your work experience to your peers in the fall following your work. Your work performance (both technical and soft engineering skills) will be assessed by your boss. Previous internship programs under the dean have led to the average interns evaluation score to be 4.44 out of 5 as determined by their bosses.

The mathematics required for engineering is taught just in time, in context, with hands on labs

Math is taught using engineering applications, by people who understand the teaching of math in the context of engineering. Math concepts are taught “just-in- time” as part of the core engineering and physics classes and are reinforced by hands on labs.

Training in project management and an exposure to the business side of engineering

Industrial representatives continue to emphasize that they wish new engineers had more project management experience. A former Boeing project manager that worked with me in Seattle will be continuing his work here at CBU. Engineering students in their junior year will be working with and co-mentoring business students. In addition, our goal is that eventually all students in our program will develop one of their own creative ideas and go through the process to receive a provisional patent.

Emphasis on both “soft and hard” engineering skill sets

An engineering degree tells an employer that you have learned how to learn (thus, you are teachable) and that you have persevered. However, they will most often hire you based on your “soft engineering” skill sets, namely: your ability to communicate (oral and written), your ability to relate to and get along with other people on a team, your willingness to learn new things and take initiative, your attitudes towards people and work, etc.- in short not what you know but who you are as a person. During your sophomore year we will place an emphasis on developing a heart and mind for engineering as service. This will serve as a foundation for a small group discussion of leadership, emotional intelligence and global awareness topics during your junior year. You will be required to participate in and facilitate these groups and put into practice the things you discuss on your numerous team projects. You will have numerous opportunities to improve your writing through the use of executive summaries, developing project specifications, and project documentation. This soft engineering skill set development will not replace becoming technically competent. All students will be required to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering online practice exam in order to graduate.

All students will have a cross cultural experience (ISP or semester abroad, ESP, Capstone)

This can be achieved several ways: participating in an International or Engineering Service Project (ISP or ESP), choosing a senior capstone project with cross cultural emphasis, taking ICS405 (Marketplace Strategies for Global Advancement) with an engineering final thesis or an approved study abroad. Having spent almost two years in India as a tentmaker in the “Silicon Valley of Asia” as well as a participant in student led missions’ projects in Brazil and the Dominican Republic the current dean understands the value of engineering in the global context and the importance of becoming globally aware. Currently opportunities are being developed in China, India, Korea, Rwanda, the Caribbean and Central America.

All students will develop and maintain an electronic portfolio

This portfolio will include samples of their academic work, a current resume, their reflections on the CBU mission statement, and departmental goals. This will be an organizing medium and allow the student to market themselves at a professional level upon graduation.