IU trustees approve IU Bloomington engineering program, new degrees

  • April 17, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University trustees approved a proposal to establish a new engineering program on the IU Bloomington campus and the first two degrees in the program.

The new program, which followed the release of an economic development study for southwest central Indiana in late 2014 and was strongly endorsed by a university task force and an external blue ribbon committee of engineering experts, will be housed within the School of Informatics and Computing and have close ties to other scientific disciplines on the campus.

"An engineering program at Indiana University Bloomington is vital if the campus is to reach its fullest potential in providing students with relevant and rewarding educational opportunities and to support the very best research of our faculty," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie, who introduced the idea of establishing the new program in his October 2014 State of the University address. "Such a program, based on our strong traditions of critical analysis, creativity, innovation and exploration, will substantially enhance our ability to increase Indiana’s economic competitiveness and support a culture of entrepreneurism across the whole state."

IU trustees also approved proposals for a bachelor's and a Ph.D. degree in engineering that will commence in the 2016-2017 academic year. A master's degree track is expected to follow closely after the program’s initial launch. The degree proposals will now move to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education for its consideration.

The goal of establishing an engineering program at IU Bloomington is part of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University, which IU trustees approved last December.

Joining President McRobbie in presenting the proposal for the new program to IU trustees were IU Executive Vice President and IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel and Bobby Schnabel, dean of the School of Informatics and Computing.

Schnabel chaired the IU faculty task force that, in December, presented McRobbie with an internal, self-study report on the establishment of the new, nationally competitive program in IT-related engineering that would augment the Bloomington campus's existing strengths in science, technology and the health sciences and enable existing academic schools and departments to attract top faculty and students.

The task force report was subsequently reviewed and endorsed by a Blue Ribbon Committee on Establishing an Engineering Program at IU Bloomington, chaired by James J. Duderstadt, president emeritus and university professor of science and engineering at the University of Michigan.

In his remarks before the IU trustees, McRobbie noted that IU Bloomington is the only one of the 62-member research universities of the Association of American Universities that does not have some form of engineering.  

The 2014 "Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana," funded by the Lilly Endowment and prepared by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, specifically recommended the creation of an engineering program at IU Bloomington, citing the necessity of such a program to the economic development of the region and state.

More than 100 current faculty on the Bloomington campus possess engineering or comparable qualifications.

Media Contacts

Mark Land

Associate vice president, IU Communications