Alamosa News | New Mechanical Engineering Degree Established at ASU


ALAMOUSA – Adams State University and Colorado State University are teaming up to launch a mechanical engineering degree at Adams State under a memorandum of understanding unanimously adopted by the ASU board of directors on Friday. The new mechanical engineering degree will be located entirely at Adams State.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between outlines expectations going forward to develop a partnership for the delivery of an accredited Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Adams State campus in Alamosa. In accordance with their collaboration to date, the two universities agree to make every effort in good faith to develop this partnership so that this study program starts enrolling students as early as the fall semester of 2022.

Adams State’s significantly improved financial situation over the past two years has given directors the confidence to move forward with the proposal. Board chair Michele Lueck called it a “legacy project” for Adams State as it works to grow strategically with new degree offerings.

“The time is right,” Lueck said. “Financially, we are in a very good position. If I look back 10 years, we’re in the best financial position we’ve been to make a big bet like this.

The overarching goal of program development is to provide opportunities for historically underserved students in rural Colorado. Adams State hosts a large number of Pell-eligible and first-generation students. Due to financial constraints, many of these students are unable to pursue higher education outside of the San Luis Valley.

The strong economic growth of the state of Colorado over the past decade has led to an increase in the demand for graduate engineers. There are currently 64,100 engineers employed in the state of Colorado, including 5,580 mechanical engineers with an average annual salary of $ 103,180. Mechanical engineering is the most popular undergraduate engineering major in the United States, with 35,400 bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2019, nearly double the number of mechanical engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2010 (18,400). As such, there is a substantial need to increase and demand the number of graduate mechanical engineers in the State of Colorado and nationally. The proposed program seeks to meet this need.

“I’m extremely excited about what this can do for this community,” said Randy Wright of Alamosa, Adams State administrator, who noted that establishing a mechanical engineering degree at Adams State was the one of his goals since his first appointment to the Board in 2014.

As part of the MOU, Adams State will provide all lower division courses (100 and 200 levels) and the Mechanical Engineering Department at CSU will provide all upper division courses (300 and 400 levels) on the Adams State campus. The upper division courses will be taught by professors from the Mechanical Engineering Department of CSU, permanently located in Alamosa.

Adams State also plans to develop an associate’s degree tied to successful completion of the lower division courses outlined in the study plan. This AS degree can be appealing to prospective students who don’t feel ready to commit to a 4-year degree, but who are interested in mechanical engineering. This two-year degree might also appeal to first-generation, low-income students served by Adams State, who are more inclined to earn cumulative degrees or have reservations about starting a four-year engagement.

Upon successful completion of lower division courses, students will be assessed for admission to the Bachelor of Science degree program and associated continuation in upper division courses. A special CSU admissions process will be developed in conjunction with CSU admissions and registrar offices which aims to ensure a seamless transition to the Bachelor of Science degree program and is in line with the requirements of current undergraduate students. in Mechanical Engineering from CSU Fort Collins. This admission process will be in place by the fall semester 2022 and once students are admitted to this program, they will be considered CSU students with all rights and responsibilities associated with this designation.

For financial aid purposes, students will be considered ASU students for the first two years and until they are admitted to the CSU Mechanical Engineering program. They will complete their FAFSA and all financial aid documents through the ASU financial aid office. If they enroll in CSU courses in the first two years, the ASU and CSU financial aid offices will coordinate to ensure that all credits are included in the aid granted. in a consortium agreement. Once accepted into the mechanical engineering program at CSU, students will become CSU students. Their FAFSA and financial aid will be processed by the CSU financial aid office.

Christian Puttlitz, Ph.D., chief of the mechanical engineering department at CSU, said he was confident the program would attract students to rural communities in the San Luis Valley and Colorado. He’s also excited to place CSU professors in Alamosa for the program and, given the difference in cost of living between Fort Collins and Alamosa, said he didn’t think he would have a problem finding teachers wishing to live in Alamosa.