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December  07, 2009

New majors in engineering physics, international business

Beginning this fall, Augustana will build on its successful business and pre-engineering programs with the new majors of engineering physics and international business. The new options will help alleviate what regional and national leaders call a shortage of college graduates from top engineering and international business programs.

Augustana ranks in the top 10 percent of small colleges in the United States for its number of physics majors, many of whom are enrolled in Augustana's three-two pre-engineering program. Students in this program study physics at Augustana for three years and then enroll in an engineering program at a nationally ranked engineering school, such as University of Illinois, Purdue University, Iowa State University, University of Iowa or University of Minnesota, for another two years.

The new engineering physics major is designed for students interested in the applied side of physics or considering the three-two pre-engineering program. A designated engineering physics faculty member and a new design lab will support the future course work involving more direct, hands-on experiences. Students will have opportunities to design prototypes on the computer, build physical models and learn about the professional codes of the field through local internships.

Dr. Lee Carkner, physics and astronomy department chair, emphasizes the advantages of learning these skills in a liberal arts school like Augustana before trying to apply them on a large scale. "Augustana has the advantage of small classes with dedicated faculty and the ability to really get to know and work with your professors. Our program combines strong scientific and technical skills with a liberal arts education that develops thinking, speaking and communication skills."

The international business major is a globally focused variation on a traditional business major. Degree requirements for the program are the same as for a business major, but include three additional features: completing an international internship, learning a foreign language and taking classes outside the business department that foster an appreciation for other cultures.

Augustana believes the interdisciplinary nature of the international business major will prepare students to meet the challenges of an increasingly global economy. Dr. Ann Ericson, business administration professor, says the new major requirements encourage diversity through cultural studies and offers skills students need to succeed in the modern age business world.

"The major will prepare students to meet the challenges of a globalized business world through participation in an overseas academic experience. It can also easily be coupled with a major or minor in a foreign language or in area studies like Asian or Latin American studies," says Ericson.

Steve Bahls, Augustana president, is proud of how the new engineering and international business majors will prepare students to serve their local and global communities. "The college's affiliation with five flagship engineering programs will mean that Augustana graduates combine the benefits of a nationally ranked liberal arts education with a nationally ranked engineering education," he says. "Likewise, our innovative international business program requires students not only to master rigorous coursework, but also gain proficiency in another language and study abroad. Graduates of both programs will have the tools to become leaders in their professions."

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833