By Heart of Illinois ABC
NORMAL – A new College of Engineering is coming to Illinois State University – designed with a focus on equity to help close long-standing gaps in enrollment, retention, and graduation of underrepresented and underserved students in the engineering field.
Illinois State University and the Illinois Board of Higher Education say the new college will include the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering with three-degree programs in electrical, mechanical, and general engineering.
ISU officials are targeting the fall of 2025 for enrollment of the first class of an estimated 130 students, rising to reach 520 students by the fourth year, according to a release.
“Illinois State’s College of Engineering will offer an innovative, experiential, and industry-informed curriculum,” said President Terri Goss Kinzy. “Importantly, the vision for the College centers on meeting the national need to grow and diversify the STEM pipeline, creating more educational opportunities for underrepresented and underserved students to successfully enter engineering professions. The departments and degree programs will also foster interactive collaboration with other colleges and units across the University and community colleges.”
According to the release, ISU has plans to exceed state and national trends for the enrollment, retention, and degree completion of historically underrepresented and underserved students.
Plans include recruiting a diverse cohort of engineering students, including students transferring from community colleges, offering ongoing and robust financial aid as well as holistic student supports, including a residential living and learning community. Recruiting and retaining faculty, staff, and administrators from historically underserved and underrepresented groups will also be a priority.
“Illinois State understands that our whole state is stronger when more of our residents have access to opportunities in STEM, and I applaud the University’s commitment to build an engineering program that opens doors for traditionally underrepresented students,” said Governor JB Pritzker.
Funding, staffing, space, and equipment for the College of Engineering will come from the University’s institutional operating funds and central reserve funds for initial startup.
Heart of Illinois ABC can be reached at News@WJBC.com.