Westmont Adds Four-Year Engineering Major

mechanical engineering, engineering major, liberal arts, engineer analyzing a machine part (the sketch is mirrored horizontally)Westmont will offer a Bachelor of Science in engineering with a concentration in mechanical engineering beginning in fall 2019, blending a mix of courses in engineering, physics, mathematics and chemistry and grounding the program in the college’s liberal arts tradition. The new major continues Westmont’s tradition of cultivating innovation, collaboration, problem-solving and moral discernment in graduates.

“Through the ages, the greatest minds have possessed the unusual capacity to make connections across every discipline and in every sphere of life and thought—in the arts and sciences, in the humanities, in technology and industry, and in the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We seek to make this remarkable capacity—the genius to find innovative solutions to enduring problems—a hallmark of our engineers.”

The launch of the new program coincides with Westmont’s capital campaign to raise $250 million for new academic programs, student scholarships and long-term financial stability through endowment growth.

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“As educators and leaders in our world consider local and global challenges, more of the solutions and strategies require insights from engineers, especially when addressing social mobility, caring for the environment, reducing poverty and promoting human welfare,” says Provost Mark Sargent. “Blending voices from engineers in discussions with economists, theologians, ethicists, historians, sociologists and other experts in the arts and sciences can enrich the ability of a Christian liberal arts community to cultivate justice, pursue peace and foster human flourishing.”

Westmont responds to an invitation from the National Science Foundation challenging schools to prepare adaptive engineers committed to blending science, engineering and the arts.

“The new engineering program offers a great opportunity to students who are technologically inclined but eager to ground their training in a rich Christian liberal arts tradition,” says Eileen McMahon McQuade, professor of biology and associate dean of faculty. “Our engineering graduates will benefit from thorough technical and scientific training as well as an interdisciplinary sensitivity and moral imagination that the Christian liberal arts can nurture.”

“If we truly want to attract and retain the best, brightest,  most diverse and most innovative students in  the  U.S., we [colleges and universities in the US] must  invest  in,  and  actively offer, the highest-quality engineering education filled  with  integrative  courses  in engineering  technology,  humanities, and the arts,” writes Domenico Grasso in “Dispelling the Myths of Holistic Engineering” for the National Society of Professional Engineers. “Technologically based engineering training can be outsourced; engineering creativity and innovation, married to technological excellence, cannot.”

Engineering continues to be one of the most rapidly growing majors in the country, with demand in the job market for engineers soaring. With many industries employing mechanical engineers in Santa Barbara County, Westmont engineering students will find a rich source of internships during college and jobs when they graduate.

Westmont consistently ranks as one of the country’s premier liberal arts colleges according to U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and Princeton Review. Innovation helps Westmont stay competitive and offer students a demanding yet personal academic experience.