New program increases diversity in nuclear engineering
The nuclear engineering field needs more diversity, and a new program will help the College of Engineering meet that goal. Officials from UW-Madison and South Carolina State University (SCSU), one of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, signed an agreement on Monday, July 24 to create a dual degree program in nuclear engineering. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the program will enable SCSU students to earn a nuclear engineering degree from UW-Madison.
The program encourages minorities to pursue degrees in nuclear engineering, thereby increasing diversity among industry applicants. Students take three years of general engineering study at SCSU and spend part of their senior year at Madison taking nuclear engineering courses. The program also offers a master's degree option.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring new students into the nuclear engineering community," said UW-Madison College of Engineering Dean Paul S. Peercy. "Programs like this ensure the long-term health of the nation by providing new insight into energy issues around the world."
SCSU's School of Engineering, Technology and Sciences offers several four-year engineering degrees, but does not offer a nuclear engineering degree. The program will provide SCSU students with a new opportunity, while raising the number of traditionally underrepresented nuclear engineering graduates and encouraging those students to pursue advanced degrees.
SCSU students who participate in the pilot program will receive $25,000 in scholarships or fellowships to pursue their degrees. They will spend their freshman, sophomore and junior years at SCSU studying general engineering courses. The following summer, students will come to Madison and begin classes in nuclear engineering. After returning to SCSU for the fall semester, students complete their final semester and summer at Madison. Upon successful completion, students receive dual degrees from SCSU and UW-Madison. Additionally, students who complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree at SCSU may enroll in courses at Madison to obtain a master's degree in nuclear engineering.
Nuclear engineering education at Madison will include a nuclear reactor laboratory and courses in reactor operations, theory and design, economics and environmental analysis, and power plant technology and materials. As part of this program SCSU will hire a nuclear engineering professor to teach courses at SCSU. In addition, UW-Madison will offer some of its courses via the Internet. Five SCSU students are already considering the program, and may begin classes in Madison next summer.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to forge this relationship that will introduce more diversity into the academic arena," said SCSU School of Engineering and Technology Dean James Anderson. "We have many students who will benefit from this relationship and make tremendous contributions to the field."
William D. Magwood, IV, the director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology at the U.S. Department of Energy, explained that this new opportunity advances engineering education at SCSU. DOE chose UW-Madison and SCSU as the pilot partnership. DOE plans to expand the program to include several historically African-American colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and Native American tribal colleges in partnerships with other nuclear engineering programs.
The program will also have long-term effects at UW-Madison. "This campus is committed to maintaining a strong nuclear engineering program," said Provost John D. Wiley. "I feel confident that this collaboration will be a success because everyone involved in the agreement is dedicated to making sure it will be beneficial. This is a strong program with policy that we intend to replicate throughout the campus."