With over 9,000 students enrolled in College of Physical Sciences and Engineering degree programs, the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been divided to better serve the rapid rate of student enrollment in the college, according to the BYU-Idaho website.
Two new departments have emerged from the divide; the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering and the Department of Engineering Technology, according to the website.
Greg Roach, dean of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering said the new additions to the now nine departments will help students gain better opportunities both on campus and in their future fields.
“It will help students have a laser-like focus on what their interests are, and the engineering and tech side seems to be a better fit for students that are really hands-on, and want to do more applied stuff than sitting at a desk,” Roach said. “It will better help the faculty determine where future employment needs those students in those majors, and they can really dive into the curriculum in a really applied and deep way.”
Roach said before, the program was so large that it was trying to manage four separate departments.
“I’m excited about some opportunities to improve curriculum,” Roach said. “The Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering will be able to focus on those two programs, and The Department of Engineering Technology will be able to do the same and figure out how to best serve the students we have.”
With more than 2,000 students enrolled in the Department of Mechanical Engineering alone, Roach said the divide will also help faculty focus on freshman retention.
“One thing that we have in the dept of both departments is a class that is an intro to engineering and technology, and it’s designed to get student exposure to all those programs,” Roach said. “It’s designed to get students exposure to internships and get freshman the confidence that they can be successful in these majors, and try something out to see if it really fits, and see what they want to accomplish in their career and what they can look forward to.”
The goal for freshman retention within the Department of Mechanical Engineering complies with President Henry J. Eyring’s goal to improve freshman retention throughout the university as a whole, said Brett Sampson, University Public Affairs Director.
“From the moment a student steps foot here on campus to the time when they graduate and go on to be successful leaders in the world, in their homes and in the church, [President Eyring] cares that we don’t lose any,” Sampson said.
Roach said the revamp on the departments has given faculty the opportunity to provide students with mentors to help guide freshman through the heavily math-focused curriculum.
“[Freshman] will be in touch with students who have been where they have been and tutors who they can keep in touch with,” Roach said. “These courses will help them determine where they can start and where they want to go. They can get energized and excited, and that can’t help but make them feel confident in their future.”