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New Ohio State regional campus degree responds to employer demand

A new bachelor’s degree program to be offered on The Ohio State University’s regional campuses will prepare graduates with skills needed for high-demand jobs in the state: business-oriented engineering leaders to run the factories of tomorrow.

Assistant Professor of Practice Qudsia Tahmina talks to two students.The university’s Board of Trustees voted in May to approve the bachelor of science in engineering technology with a concentration in manufacturing. In partnership with the College of Engineering, the degree will be offered beginning in autumn 2020 on the Lima, Mansfield and Marion campuses, and tentatively is set to begin on the Newark campus in autumn 2023.

The degree program is designed to produce highly skilled college graduates with broad training in manufacturing engineering technology who are prepared for plant management roles. A resurgence of manufacturing, Ohio’s largest economic sector, has increased demand for college graduates with this combination of skills. Additional concentrations within the major may be added later.

“The collaborative effort to build this program is a perfect example of living one aspect of our land-grant mission, to fuel Ohio’s leading industries like manufacturing with skilled, career-ready talent,” said College of Engineering Dean David Williams.

Engineering faculty conducted extensive research of the Ohio manufacturing industry, visiting plants and seeking engineers’ input as they designed project-based coursework emphasizing hands-on skills and technological know-how in mechanical and electrical processes, industrial robotics, and project and change management.

The Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI) at Ohio State also engaged industry focus groups across the state and analyzed federal data to determine the characteristics needed to become an engineering technologist in today’s manufacturing environment, said OMI Executive Director Kathryn Kelley.

“Our conversations with manufacturers and the Ohio Manufacturers Association gravitated to a consensus,” she said. “They want and need these graduates.”

The degree program will expose students to a variety of engineering technology fields and provide training in systems-based thinking and problem solving, proficiency in professional communication and business terminology, and continuous improvement.

“The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association supports degreed programs that are aligned with the growing needs of employers for high-skilled graduates who can immediately apply what they have learned to company projects,” said OMA President Eric Burkland. “Offering this program at the regional campuses will provide area manufacturers with the skilled workers they are seeking.”

This addition to the regional campus curriculum reflects Ohio State’s commitment to educate Ohio citizens and support community needs, said W. Randy Smith, vice provost for academic programs.

“The faculty and academic leaders who developed the plan for this new undergraduate major did a great job of addressing the needs of our students and Ohio’s workforce,” Smith said. “This innovative educational opportunity will prepare students to be leaders of industry and provide businesses with the talent they need to thrive. This program shows how Ohio State is continually focused on serving students and the state economy.”