New Degrees Offered in King’s College Engineering Program
King’s College has been taking steps towards developing and diversifying the different degrees offered to its students. This is especially true for the incoming students interested in pursuing a career in engineering. Within the past six years, King’s has not only developed a 2 + 3-year program with Notre Dame, but for the first time this fall, King’s is independently offering two new engineering degrees: civil and mechanical.
Although King’s could have considered starting its own engineering program in the past, there was a lot of risk involved starting a program without a substantial foundation. To increase the certainty of success, King’s decided to look beyond itself for a safe way to start the program.
“There was a team of people from all the science departments and the mathematics departments that were involved,” said Paul Lamore, who for the past four years, of his total 13 years at King’s, has been program director of the 3 + 2 Engineering Program, and this summer became chair of the in-house engineering program. The team of faculty with Lamore was made up of notable professors such as: Dan Ghezzi (math) Kristi Concannon (physics), Maria Jump (computer science), Brian Williams (chemistry) and Brian Mangan (environmental science).
The faculty at King’s were looking for somewhere that would provide an ideal and favorable learning environment for the students without having to sacrifice the many years required to build a strong a reputation in the engineering field. In the spring of 2012, King’s reached out to Notre Dame with the goal of developing a collaborative engineering program.
Notre Dame is often thought of as an aspirational school and it also has a reputable engineering program. The establishment of this relationship between King’s and Notre Dame would provide aspects of a larger university experience that were previously unavailable to students attending King’s.
By the fall of 2013, the 3 + 2-year program with Notre Dame was in place and offered to perspective students. Since then, in terms of enrollment, the 3 + 2 program has been a success. However, back in 2012 when the program was still being created, this result was difficult to predict.
To gather more information, Lamore and the involved faculty at King’s reached out to other schools that had similar 3 + 2 programs at the time, such as Stonehill College, MA and Providence College, RI – Lamore’s alma mater where he graduated from a 3 + 2 program.
“I talked to people where I went to school, Providence College, and found out what their average for enrollment was,” Lamore explained. “And they all basically said about 20.”
With this information, the team at King’s estimated the number of expected incoming students that would be a part of the program for the first few years.
“So our guess was that our first-year class would be about 8,” said Dr. Lamore referring back to 2012 when the program was still under construction, “then 12, then 16, then 18, and work up to 20. That’s not what happened though. What happened was we went right to over 20 the first year.”
In 2013, King’s College had 25 students enrolled in the engineering 3 + 2 program. In the fall of the next year, they received 26 student enrollments. In 2015, there were 22 students, and in this past year of 2016, there were 28. This amount of interest shown by students was something that helped push forward, and lay the foundation, for the in-house engineering program at King’s.
The numbers of enrollment showed that despite the program being so young, students maintained a strong interest in what King’s College could offer with Notre Dame.
Zachery Lescowitch, who is a junior civil engineering and physics major, and secretary of the engineering club, had a positive reaction when he first heard about the 3 + 2 program.
“I thought it was a good thing. It’s new, there’s a lot you can do with it. If you put that on your resume, it shows that you’re willing to take these risks and make something bigger out of it,” Lescowitch said.
Engineering majors currently at King’s such as Rene Sousa, Zachery Lescowitch, and Ben Baileys all agree that the 3 + 2 program is challenging. However, they see the challenge as a good thing and express an appreciation for what Dr. Lamore and the team of faculty have done and continue to do for the program.
“They are working really hard to develop the program and get their name out there. They’re doing an awful lot,” said Baileys, a junior electrical engineering and physics major. He elaborated on how he decided to come to King’s after a personal interview with Dr. Lamore. “He told me about the program, because I showed an interest in engineering and he sold the deal. I mean 5 years, two degrees, and I get to go to Notre Dame. It seemed pretty nice.”
Sousa, a junior environmental science and environmental engineering major, shared his experience in the engineering program and the prospect of going to Notre Dame saying, “I wasn’t thinking too much about Notre Dame initially, but now it’s everything to us.”
Although excited for Notre Dame, the students still enjoy the part of the program at King’s working with the people who helped put the program into place.
“I’m just really comfortable here. Whenever I’m working through something with professors, I feel like the professors are so there for you with anything you need,” Sousa said.
The current outlook on the engineering programs, both in-house and the 3 + 2, gives encouragement for the program in the future. Already, King’s is planning new lab construction, and acquiring new instrumentation technology to assist with the continued development.
Both King’s College and Notre Dame offer valuable degrees in the field of engineering. Each program provides something different to the incoming students, from the specific type of engineering degree offered, to the classroom environment.
This fall, King’s is now offering two new engineering degrees and the option of a 3 + 2-year program with Notre Dame. This establishment of both programs affords King’s students unique paths to achieve their career goals