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New master's degree program

Kevin L. Hoag

Kevin L. Hoag (large image)

A new master's degree program in the College of Engineering aims to take engineers out of the laboratory and onto the Internet to learn more about internal combustion engines and automotive technologies.

The college's on-line Master of Engineering in Engine Systems (MEES) program will debut this fall with 12 students. The college created the program to address the needs of a market of engineering professionals who are looking to widen their training in engine technology, says Kevin Hoag, an assistant faculty associate with the Department of Engineering Professional Development and associate director of the college's Engine Research Center.

"It's a big industry — thousands and thousands of engineers worldwide," Hoag says. Mike Mihelich of Fond du Lac says the engine program fit his needs for furthering his knowledge. He works as a project engineer for a design analysis group with Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac.

"We look at just a small piece of the engine," he says. "I want to have a broader understanding of how an engine comes together."

Mihelich also says he enjoys meeting other engineers and exchanging ideas and information about engine programs.

The new master's degree program is modeled after the college's successful Master of Engineering in Professional Practice, Master of Engineering in Professional Practice, aimed at mid-career engineering professionals working in a technical capacity and wanting to improve their professional skills. The MEPP program graduated its first class of graduates in the spring of 2001, and has won national awards for its effectiveness in delivering on-line education and training.

Hoag views the MEPP program as the template for the degree program in engine systems.

"It's modeled directly after that," he says. "It has been described as a gold standard for distance education. I thought it would be neat to do that and target a specific industry."

Students in the engine systems program, however, will take their classes at a much slower pace than those in the two-year MEPP program. Hoag anticipates that students will take one class per semester, with the degree taking four years to complete. One reason is that the engine systems program follows a specific course sequence that builds on itself, and requires students to complete one course before moving on to another, he said. The program also includes a week-long summer residency at the college in its first two years.

Hoag says the program utilizes faculty from both the Department of Engineering Professional Development as well as the Engine Research Center and the Powertrain Control Research Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Mechanical Engineering.

The program targets engineers, typically mechanical engineers, who are involved in some way in the engine industry, Hoag says. Engineers in the field often specialize in one sector of the industry, such as thermal sciences or mechanical development. But engineers who want to expand their training, and grow professionally, need to integrate their training with other critical skills in the engine field.

In addition, the engine industry is looking for engineers with a wide range of skills to lead major engine projects, Hoag says.

"The graduate going through this program will gain the skills to integrate these technical disciplines," he says.