MAGNOLIA - Southern Arkansas University has been approved to establish a Bachelor of Science in Engineering program by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The Bachelor of Science in Engineering at SAU will be effective Fall 2014. Projected starting enrollment for the fall semester is 15 students.
"This is a tremendous academic breakthrough not only for Southern Arkansas University, but for all of south Arkansas," said Dr. David Rankin, SAU president. "This program will boost economic development in the region and offer our engineering students an opportunity to stay in the area after graduation."
Industry from the south Arkansas region – including oil, defense, and manufacturing – require engineers and have adamantly supported creation of SAU's engineering program. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education justified this new program on the grounds that SAU will provide engineering education to residents of the south Arkansas region and will provide graduates for engineering positions in regional companies.
With this approval from the Coordinating Board, SAU will now focus on completing preparations for this new program. These preparations will include construction of engineering facilities near the SAU Science Center and the new Agriculture Center. WER Architects provided a study for SAU in September, which entailed outlines for a 11,015 square-foot construction project estimated at $2,753,580.
Starting in the fall, SAU will have the only general engineering bachelor's program south of Little Rock. Other Arkansas institutions currently offering engineering degrees include Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech, University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and UALR.
New program offerings like engineering and the recent Computer Game and Animation Design and Wildlife Biology have helped enrollment jump at SAU to record numbers. For Fall 2013, SAU posted three enrollment records. The trend continued into this spring semester with a record spring enrollment for the University.