Media Releases

College launches distinctive 4-year engineering programs

Dec 18, 2017

To empower students to drive the pace of technology and build professional resiliency, North Central College is now offering four-year bachelor of science degrees in computer, electrical and mechanical engineering starting with the 2018-2019 academic term.

According to the director of North Central’s new engineering programs, Dr. Frank Harwath, the College strives to create the “ideal engineer” – one with a comprehensive liberal arts education.

“Industry and academic partners have told us that the ideal engineer participates in teams effectively, communicates respectfully, clearly and concisely, and executes compassionately and realistically,” said Harwath who, for more than 30 years, worked in industry design and developed products and processes. Harwath started three companies, accumulated 84 patents and designed products used in high performance computers, graphics hardware, cell phones, fiber optics and sporting goods.

“From day one, we’re going to give students at North Central College real-world problems to solve. Every engineering class will embrace a lecture-lab approach, enabling students to develop a solution to a problem plus write a report and deliver a presentation—skills that will increase their professional marketability,” said Harwath.

Combined with high-quality, talented faculty and staff, “students will be positioned for success in their chosen field. Our faculty make themselves available to every student, providing every opportunity for learning and succeeding. This is what sets North Central College apart,” said Harwath.

According to Dr. Sun-il Kim, chair of North Central’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, a goal of the new programs “is for students who come to the College to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. My hope is that our engineering students will really internalize the themes we’re focusing on and graduate with the mindset of someone who is starting a company.”

“It’s significant that our engineering programs are situated firmly in the College of Arts and Sciences rather than a stand-alone school of engineering,” said Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of North Central’s College of Arts and Sciences. “We are committed to producing the sort of engineers who will change the world and be prepared to adapt to new challenges throughout their careers.”

At North Central, students can:

• Study in the Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center, a state-of-the-art facility equipped to accommodate the most sophisticated hardware, software and sustainable technology

• Explore internship opportunities at nearby research labs like Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

• Apply for Richter Grants, which allow students to study anywhere in the world

• Present original research findings at local, regional and national conferences.

The College’s four-year engineering programs received approval from the Higher Learning Commission. Information about computer engineering is available here; electrical engineering here; and mechanical engineering here. The College also offers a “3-2” program option—three years at North Central, completing the engineering core plus extra courses in a major—and two years at a partner university, completing 60 to 70 credit hours of coursework in a student’s engineering major. Information for the “3-2” option is available here.