Centenary developing Master of Engineering program

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary president Dr. David Rowe announced today that the College's Board of Trustees approved the development of a Master of Engineering program at its spring meeting. Once in place, students will be able to earn a Master of Engineering degree and bachelor's degree in four years.

The Master of Engineering will join the Master of Arts in teaching as Centenary's second More in Four graduate professional studies offering that builds on and complements a traditional undergraduate liberal arts degree. "Centenary's distinctive hybrid semester system and four-hour courses provide the flexibility and opportunity for students to Do More in four years at Centenary than at most other colleges," said Rowe.

Board approval clears the way to submit a full proposal to the College's accreditation body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), with an eye toward launching the first classes in Fall 2017.

The program is expected to have broad appeal. Centenary Provost Dr. Jenifer K. Ward notes that about half of Centenary prospective students express interest in engineering or engineering-related fields.

Master of Engineering students would choose either a geotechnical track or a biotechnical track, according to Geology professor Dr. David Bieler, one of the program’s authors.

"These disciplines connect the College to deep roots in the ArkLaTex," Bieler said. "The oil and gas industry has benefitted from engineers skilled in geotechnical disciplines."

In addition to the oil and gas industry, Bieler adds that geotechnical engineers are also at work in construction trades and at the forefront of environmental issues such as waste disposal and water supply.

The biotechnical engineering track provides critical knowledge needed in clinical laboratories and prepares students to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering. Physics faculty member Dr. Kinsey Cotton Kelly, another of the program's authors, also notes that an aging population creates greater demands on healthcare systems and increases the need for a highly-skilled biomedical workforce.

"This expanding population puts demands on every community's healthcare system, spawning more healthcare facilities to employ more biomedical technology jobs."

Both Drs. Bieler and Kelly note that the Master of Engineering program will rely heavily on student projects developed in concert with local corporate partners, connecting classroom theory to real world problems.

Dr. Bieler adds "Graduates, of course, will benefit from Centenary's traditional liberal arts curriculum with its emphasis on communication and problem-solving skills, but this new program represents the fusion of a liberal and technical education."