Impact Engineering Professional Development will be offering a new online degree option targeted at mid-career engineers who want to continue their education while also continuing to practice.
The Department of Engineering Professional Development will be offering a new online Master of Engineering degree option in Sustainable Systems Engineering for classes starting in Spring 2013. The program is targeted at mid-career engineers that would normally not be interested in returning to campus for graduate studies, but desire new online programs that allow them to continue to practice engineering while attaining a degree.
What makes our program innovative is an active effort to partner with a variety of schools and departments on campus that offer classes in specialized areas within sustainable practice. In addition to the Division of Continuing Studies and the Office of Sustainability as “founding partners,” the degree will offer classes from EPD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Biological Systems Engineering, Electrical Engineering, GeoScience, and Environmental Studies.
To earn this cooperation with other departments, the College of Engineering developed a revenue sharing model that uses half of the tuition revenue directly for instructional support. This means that 25% of the tuition revenue from a course goes directly back to the instructor’s department, to be allocated at their discretion. An additional 25% of the revenue is used to provide the SSE instructors with teaching assistants, instructional design support and technology for building online materials for their class. These online materials are retained by the instructor, making them available for on-campus instruction. Of the remaining 50%, 25% is used to administer and market the Sustainable Systems Engineering program, and the remaining funds are kept for future course developments and improvements.
This cross-campus participation has meant that we can offer a more flexible curriculum to our students to better meet their interests. Since sustainability is a broad topic defined differently by industry and job function, we performed a rigorous market study on student interests prior to designing the program. We found that our students fell into roughly three different specialization areas: energy, facilities and infrastructure. We have therefore found courses on campus that fall into these different specializations to offer as electives, and developed a core set of courses that complement and prepare students for their specialization area.
The Sustainable Systems Engineering program has also adopted the pedagogical model for interactive distance instruction that EPD has successfully developed in its award-winning Master of Engineering in Professional Practice and Master of Engineering in Engine Systems programs. We encourage our instructors to offer reading assignments or pre-recorded lectures as self-study work to prepare for live class time. Scheduled live class hours are then spent in discussion and application, and not in a lecture format. Students are also encouraged to work online on team projects for additional interactive experiences.