‘Inflection Point:’ College of Computing established at MTU

MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY President Richard Koubek discusses the new College of Computing. (Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette photo)

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Technological University Board approved three new degree programs Friday.

It also passed resolutions in support of dissolving the School of Technology and creating the new College of Computing.

“This will be the first college of its kind in Michigan, but most importantly, it marks another inflection point in the history of Michigan Tech, as we advance to meet the needs of our technology-driven economy while reinvesting in our core strengths,” President Richard Koubek said.

As part of the transition, Tech is also forming a new Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology inside the College of Engineering, which the board approved Friday. That program will include resources previously associated with the bachelor of science in Mechanical Engineering Technology and the minor in Manufacturing Systems, including the machine shop now housed in the School of Technology.

The School of Technology’s programs are being divided between the new computing college, the School of Business and Economics and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The board also approved three new degrees: master’s degrees in mechatronics and engineering management, as well as a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. The mechatronics and cybersecurity programs will be part of the new college.

The master of science in mechatronics is a collaboration between the electrical engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology programs, as well as the departments of electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics.

The proposal describes mechatronics as the “synergistic integration of electrical and mechanical engineering, robotics, computational hardware, and software in the design of products and processes.”

With projected growth in automation and manufacturing, the multidisciplinary degree is expected to fill a need for applied research and entrepreneurship in those area, the proposal stated.

Initial enrollment is estimated at 40 students over the first three year, with a steady-state enrollment of between 40 to 60 students.

The engineering management degree, in the School of Business and Economics, focuses on the managerial knowledge, business literacy and other relevant skills critical in engineering and technology-intensive industries, according to the proposal. It will provide a more focused technical domain than the existing master of business administration, the proposal states.

The master’s program is expected to have 20 students in its first year, growing by about 5 percent each year to an estimated 40 students.

The bachelor of science program in cybersecurity is a joint effort between the computer network and system administration program, the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The degree offers Michigan Tech students a chance at cybersecurity knowledge and skills with a solid theoretical foundation as well as an understanding of social, ethical, legal, and policy aspects of cybersecurity, according to the proposal.

Provost Jacqueline Huntoon said the research at the new computing college will serve the entire university.

“Those people in academia for a long time have recognized the greatest innovations have been at the margins, where two different fields that are currently separate start to come together, and perhaps form new disciplines,” she said.

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