Bachelor of Science in engineering program approved

Engineering prof Joel Krehbiel works with sophomore Sam Otto in physics lab.

Hesston College’s Bachelor of Science in engineering, introduced as part of the college’s Vision 2025 four-year program expansion plan, was approved on Nov. 19. This approval is crucial to the program’s anticipated launch of its first junior class in August 2022.

“Having the Higher Learning Commission Institutional Action Council approve the Bachelor of Science in engineering with a mechatronics track is a big step,” said Carren Moham, vice president of academics. “The fact that the HLC Change Panel initially recommended approval so early was an extremely good sign, as it doesn’t usually happen so quickly. It is a testament to the very thorough and diligent work of the writers of the proposal.”

In October, a Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Change Panel reviewed the program application, which will allow Hesston College to offer a Bachelor of Science in engineering with a mechatronics track, totaling 126 credit hours.

Success of the approval is credited to a strong, pre-existing associate degree program in pre-engineering. The demand for an engineering program alongside increasing student inquiries pushed faculty to craft robust and varied associate-level pre-engineering tracks.

“The foundation has been in place, and the excitement of today is now we get to build on it,” said Johann Reimer, director of engineering education. “Our very first junior class will get to experience four brand new engineering courses in the fall, followed by four new engineering courses in the spring.”

In the 2023-24 academic year, Hesston College will launch nine additional courses for senior engineering students. Updated facilities will support the new program, as Friesen Center becomes the new home for engineering. The 7,500 square foot space will house three labs and faculty offices.

“Our community ties run deep and we have many connections with local industry here in Hesston, and the surrounding area with companies like Excel, AGCO and Harper Industries to name a few,” Reimer said. “These connections will be essential as we build out the program and look to connect our students with class projects, internships and ultimately jobs.”