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Programmatic changes lead to name changes for two WVU engineering departments

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Programmatic changes in two areas have led to name changes for two departments in West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering in Mineral Resources .


In fall 2014, WVU launched a new degree program in biomedical engineering. Effective immediately, its home department will now be known as the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering.

The biomedical engineering discipline is among the fastest growing engineering disciplines due to the rapid advancement of medical technologies and need for treatment and diagnosis strategies. According to Cerasela Zoica Dinu, associate chair of the department, the program boasts 45 juniors and sophomores and an estimated 64 incoming freshmen have indicated an interest in the discipline. More than one-third of these students are female.

“This change will allow us to emphasize and recognize biomedical engineering as an active component of the department and potentially encourage other engineering students to consider taking a biomedical engineering-oriented course, or to conduct research in a biomedical engineering-based lab,” said Dinu. “The name change will also benefit current and future students. When they enter the job market, prospective employers will understand that their curricula includes solid grounding in biomedical engineering and applications.”

Fifteen years ago, the Freshman Engineering Program consisted of engineering graduate students and a few engineering faculty from various departments that were assigned to teach two introductory engineering courses for first-year students. Since that time, the program has grown to become a successful, independent program that provides quality education to entering students and engages in research-based student academic success strategies.

In recognition of that change, Freshman Engineering will now be known as the Fundamentals of Engineering Program.

“The formalization of the academic unit provides an organizational structure that creates an academic home for students and faculty who engage in teaching, advising, curriculum development and engineering education research and practice, which prepares students for the next step in their engineering education and career,” said Robin Hensel, assistant dean in the Statler College. “Faculty teach fundamental engineering problem-solving concepts and employ research-based student academic success strategies that emphasize life-transition skills, academic support, student engagement and holistic student advising.”

“The change in department names reflects the expanded degree option in biomedical engineering as well as the importance a solid first-year experience makes to the success and retention of our students, regardless of discipline,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College.



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