The Micron Foundation has awarded NNU a $200,000 grant to assist the University’s new bachelor of science in engineering program. The grant will provide start-up funding to hire two new faculty members and a laboratory manager, enabling the University to create several new engineering courses over the next two years. These funds will directly support the engineering program’s pursuit of accreditation upon its first graduating class in 2014.
“The Micron Foundation grant to our engineering program is greatly appreciated. It provides leadership in our on-going fundraising efforts to put in place the faculty, lab equipment and facilities required to build a high-quality engineering program and achieve ABET accreditation in the shortest possible time,” said NNU Engineering Program Director Dr. Stephen Parke.
Dee Mooney, executive director, Micron Foundation stated, “The Micron Foundation supports NNU’s efforts to strengthen its engineering program that supports the State of Idaho’s goal of boosting education in science, technology, engineering and math.”
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) is the organization that accredits engineering programs nationwide to ensure graduates are obtaining a high quality, professional education. ABET accreditation is essential for graduates to pursue professional engineering licensure and graduate education.
Because high-tech jobs are growing nearly four times faster than the national average, and industries are struggling with a technically under-qualified workforce–the need for qualified young professionals is pressing. The number of graduates produced by Idaho’s university engineering programs is not adequate to meet the needs of existing Idaho companies or to encourage growth of new industries.
NNU is actively engaged in attracting high caliber faculty, staff, and students to this program, which began fall 2010 with 12 students and currently serves 62 students. A total of six faculty in electrical, mechanical and engineering physics must be in place by the accreditation review in 2014. Micron’s generous grant will help make this possible.
Dr. Lynn Russell, retired BSU dean of engineering, currently chairs NNU’s 25-member engineering industry/alumni advisory board. This board, an experienced group of engineering leaders, is providing guidance for the actions and decisions that will ensure the program’s successful start-up and growth.
NNU President David Alexander said, “We are grateful to the Micron Foundation for their investment in the future of NNU’s engineering students. This grant affirms the caliber and promise of our emerging engineering program. We look forward to leveraging these funds to attract stellar faculty to this growing program and in so doing, serving the engineering needs of the Treasure Valley and beyond.”