The S.C. Commission on Higher Education has approved the new Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering degree program for Francis Marion University at the CHE’s quarterly meeting Thursday in Columbia, starting January 2014.
The CHE approval, which came via a unanimous vote, is the final regulatory step for engineering program initiative, which has been in the works for almost two years. FMU expects to enroll its first students for the spring semester, beginning in January.
The program is a partnership between FMU and Florence-Darlington Technical College that will prove to be a significant step toward meeting the workforce needs of the energy industry, said FMU President Dr. Fred Carter.
“Government officials and industry leaders have repeatedly urged FMU to offer an engineering program and we have responded,” said Carter. "The demand for industrial engineers has never been greater, and we are now positioned to better serve our community, our region and our state.
Industrial Engineering is among the fastest-growing engineering disciplines. The S.C. Department reports that about 1,000 IE’s are already employed the state. Both the DOC and Pee Dee-area business leaders say many more engineers will be needed in the years ahead. Industrial Engineers work in a variety of businesses and industry, designing processes for healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and more.
The new baccalaureate program will incorporate include a variety of quantitative systems design and management courses that can be applied to a broad range of industry and business enterprises. Students in the IE program will be housed by FMU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, which oversees programs in pre-engineering and engineering technology at the college. Students will use laboratory facilities at the FDTC’s Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT) campus.