Earlham College to add full engineering major in fall 2023 – Palladium-Item

RICHMOND, Ind. — For students wanting to continue down the engineering path after going through Earlham College’s nationally recognized pre-engineering program, Earlham will soon have that next step available.
The college plans to launch a full engineering program in fall 2023, according to an Earlham release. This addition will build on the school’s physics, computer science, math, environmental sustainability and liberal arts programs to create a “distinctive” engineering curriculum. It will also make Earlham one of only a handful of liberal arts colleges in the country to offer a four-year engineering degree.
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“With our reputation for attracting change-makers the world over, engineering is a perfect place to expand our curriculum,” Earlham President Anne Houtman said in the release.
Before coming to Earlham, Houtman was the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, one of the country’s top engineering schools. Her experience paired with Earlham’s current programs hint to creating a successful engineering program.
“By building on our existing strengths in the sciences and excellence in classroom teaching, we are poised to nurture future generations of engineers who are prepared to use their knowledge and skills to reshape the world as we know it and envision a better future through design,” Houtman added.
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The release states that Earlham’s unique approach to engineering will focus on designing a better, more sustainable and equitable world, which will give students a broad perspective, strong communication skills and critical thinking.  
“Engineers not only determine how problems are solved, they also have a say in which problems are chosen to be solved,” Earlham physics professor Michael Lerner said in the release. “Both of these considerations have deep implications for social good and equity.”
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The demand for engineering degrees has grown rapidly over the last five years, the release states, and expanding its program into a full major was the “logical next step” for Earlham. This is especially the case given its 3:2 program in which students spend the last two years of study at partner schools like Columbia University, Washington University of St. Louis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Case Western Reserve University.
“With Earlham’s focus on ‘Engineering for Good’ and our traditions of excellence in the liberal arts and social justice, Earlham engineers will be prepared to address the most pressing challenges of our time with compassion and creativity,” Lerner said in the release.
Earlham will welcome a new engineering program director and full-time faculty during the 2022-23 school year to support areas not available in the current curriculum. The release states that these new hires will recruit a “wide range” of students to join the program with a focus on those historically underrepresented across engineering disciplines.
Earlham currently has the laboratories and research facilities needed to support the engineering program in its Center for Science and Technology. Some facilities will be renovated and eventually added to improve specific aspects of the program.
Engineering is the latest degree program added to Earlham’s undergraduate curriculum. Earlier this year, the college added an accounting major and four new concentrations to its computer science program. Earlham also recently added new majors in social services, creative writing, media and communications, data science and exercise science.
Zach Piatt reports on sports and education for The Palladium-Item. Contact him at zpiatt@gannett.com or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.


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