Grant advances new engineering program

Rachid ManseurDr. Rachid Manseur of SUNY Oswego’s computer science department has received a grant from the Engineering Information Foundation to ensure that the college’s new program in electrical and computer engineering prepares graduates with the communication skills they will need to be successful.

Manseur joined Oswego’s faculty last year to begin developing the new program, which is scheduled to become Oswego’s second engineering program when it is approved in the next couple of years. Software engineering was approved this fall.

“Engineers have to present their work to a variety of people and defend it,” Manseur explained. “Engineers design products. They need to defend their products, their design choices, and explain why they decided to do things the way they did. They really need good communication skills.”

The EiF grant of $25,000 will fund a multidisciplinary team of Oswego faculty members to work on the best way to infuse modern communication education and training into the engineering program plan.

The team includes participants in the college’s Center for Communication and Information Technology: Cara Brewer Thompson of the graphic design program, Dr. Kristen Eichhorn of the communication studies faculty and David Vampola, director of the information science program. The team will do much of the work in next summer.

Manseur said he hopes to begin offering courses in electrical and computer engineering by next fall and for the new degree program to receive all approvals by fall 2010.

The new program, projected to enroll about 120 students, will help meet a clear need, Manseur said.

“There is a high demand for electrical and computer engineers,” he said, including in Central New York with such companies as Novelis, Welch Allyn and Lockheed Martin. “Engineering is everywhere—agriculture, medicine . . . You can’t find an area where electrical and computer engineering does not have a significant impact.”

And engineering is important to the economy, he added.

“Engineering is now the subject of a lot of discussion and investment,” he said. “The reason engineers are so important to the economy is that they are the creators of wealth. They create new products. They stimulate the economy. Many of them end up creating new companies in the high technology area.”

Noting that China graduates about 10 times as many engineers as the United States does, he said, “It becomes almost a matter of national security. We need to graduate more qualified engineers.”

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(Posted: Nov 12, 2008)

Tags: research news: faculty projects