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On-line engine degree program proves to be a success

Kevin L. Hoag

Kevin L. Hoag (large image)

One year after its debut, a unique on-line engineering course aimed at those who work with engines has proven to be a success.

The College of Engineering last year introduced a new program aimed at mid-career professionals called the Master of Engineering in Engine Systems (MEES). The program, which involves on-line education and a weeklong summer seminar on the engineering campus, aims to provide working engineers with the latest technologies in combustion engines and vehicle mechanics.

The MEES program has proven extremely popular in a state that's known for its high concentration of engine manufacturers. Assistant Faculty Associate of Engineering Professional Development Kevin Hoag, who helped organized the degree program, said enrolled engineers have come from companies such as Mercury Marine, Briggs & Stratton, and Harley-Davidson.

The program debuted with 11 students last year, and added 16 more this year, according to Hoag.

"The response from industry has been very positive," said Hoag, who also serves as associate director of the College of Engineering's Engine Research Center. "We're getting a good cross-section of engineers."

More than two dozen engineers gathered on the College of Engineering campus this summer to hear about projects they've been working on under the program. For engineers like Leah Bober, the summer seminar gives her a chance to meet MEES program colleagues and review their course work.

"It's a great program," said Bober, a calibration engineer who works in Harley-Davidson's product development center and was part of the first class of MEES students. "It's very flexible time-wise. You can fit it into your work schedule and your personal time."

During the week spent on campus, students heard from speakers such as Bill Hancock, president of Arrow Racing Engines, who explained the cost and time differences in developing racing engines compared to regular automotive engines. Students also get a chance to tour engine companies in the state. This year's trip took the students to Fond du Lac and Mercury Marine's engine casting plant.

Bober said the MEES program provides her with a chance to meet engineering colleagues in the profession as well as keep up with emerging technologies.

"I was always interested in learning more about the technical side of engine development," she said. "And I was looking for a high-quality program that was on-line. This fit."

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10/25/2004