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UMF, UMaine Create Dual Degree in Liberal Arts, Engineering

Contact: Chet Rock, 581-2218; April Mulherin, 778-7081

ORONO — The University of Maine and the University of Maine, Farmington, are collaborating to offer a five-year dual degree program resulting in liberal arts and engineering degrees.

Beginning in the fall of 2009, students can spend three years pursuing a bachelor of arts degree at Farmington, then attend UMaine for two years of study toward a bachelor of science degree in engineering. They would graduate with a UMF BA in environmental sciences and a UMaine BS in any one of several engineering tracks.

Rock says combining engineering and liberal arts programs is becoming more popular as engineers recognize the need for greater exposure to humanities along with their technical skills, and also as engineers are called upon to work in community, corporate, legal, international and other diversified settings.

“It provides a much broader education for a student,” UMaine College of Engineering Associate Dean Chet Rock says. “That is the key point. You’re getting the best of both worlds — a liberal arts degree and an engineering degree. I think it will allow graduates to be flexible in the kind of work they do,” he says.

Engineering students already are required to take a number of general education and liberal arts courses, including communications and writing. “You can’t just be an engineer without having people skills,” Rock adds.

One popular track, according to Chet Rock, associate dean of the College of Engineering, is expected to be a BA in environmental sciences and a BS in civil and environmental engineering.

Students will start by applying to UMF. After three years, those in good academic standing would transfer to UMaine. While at UMF, students will take general education, math and science, along with liberal arts elective classes, to prepare them for engineering coursework at UMaine.

“This program is tailored for the student interested in obtaining a degree in engineering, but who wants a liberal arts college experience at a smaller campus as part of their education,” says Rob Lively, UMF associate provost and dean of academic services. “Increasingly, today’s engineer needs to be a good communicator, understand how engineering impacts society, and have a broader educational background as they aspire to higher level promotion.”

The UMaine College of Engineering currently has a similar agreement with Bowdoin College and recently created a dual degree program with the UMaine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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