Priming the pipeline

Dunwoody to add engineering school

By Kevyn Burger
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

There’s a new source of engineers in the pipeline that will make inroads in addressing Minnesota’s anticipated shortage of the in-demand profession.    

Dunwoody College of Technology is opening a new school of engineering. With the start of the new school year this fall, the 103-year-old Minneapolis college has begun instruction for students who will earn four year bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering. Next year for the first time, it will begin its four-year program to award Bachelor of Science degrees in software engineering.

“We have done extensive research and know that there is an urgent need for engineers. We have close ties with industry and they tell us they value Dunwoody’s hands on, applied approach,” says Stuart Lang, Dunwoody’s vice president for Institutional Advancement.

“People we talk to say there is a gap between the number of engineering jobs and the number of trained people who can fill them,” Lang adds.

That gap is likely to widen. According to statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, by 2022 Minnesota will need an additional 7,700 mechanical, civil and electrical engineers to fill the state’s projected job openings.

Dunwoody’s efforts to add the engineering majors have been in the works for a while.

“It’s a long process. We started by working with our faculty, then did a needs assessment and worked with curriculum design,” Lang says.

Then the private college had to have its request to add the engineering programs approved by Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education. From there, Dunwoody had to submit extensive documentation to the North Central Higher Learning Commission in order to earn accreditation.

Dunwoody plans to further expand its engineering offerings. The school is now working with an advisory committee to establish a bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering; Dunwoody also anticipates adding a civil engineering program.

“This is a logical extension of our programs. You could say that engineering is in the water here; our graduates have gone into engineering careers though our two year engineering degrees and certificate programs,” Lang says. “The four year degrees are a pathway to upward mobility for our students who aspire to those opportunities.”

Lang anticipates that Dunwoody will annually graduate 3-400 students with Bachelor of Science degrees in engineering once all of the programs are operating.

The opening of the new school of engineering will spur repurposing of 24,000 square feet of current campus space, including renovations of the welcome center and admissions office. Other changes will create a new learning commons area and an updated facade on Dunwoody Boulevard.