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Engineering Makes the Grade at CofC

By John Stabinger
Posted on 11 August 2020 | 11:58 am — 

This fall marks a major milestone for the College of Charleston: For the first time in its 250-year history, CofC will offer a major in engineering. A total of 30 students are enrolled to receive a B.S. in systems engineering — the first major of its kind in South Carolina. Systems engineers take a macro view of a project and are responsible for the concept, architecture and design.

“Over the last 10 years, the Charleston tri-county area has evolved into a high-tech manufacturing center,” says Sebastian van Delden, interim dean of the School of Sciences and Mathematics, which houses the systems engineering major. “As the local public university, we have the responsibility of providing talent to our economy.”

Indeed, engineers from Boeing, Bosch, Mercedes-Benz and others helped design the curriculum, while an industrial advisory board is in place to help ensure that it remains relevant to industry needs.

Next fall, the College will also start offering a B.S. in electrical engineering and hopes that others will follow. In fact, a robust engineering program is one of the College’s nine fundraising priorities that launched during its 250th anniversary-year celebration (CofC once offered a few engineering classes in the early 1900s but never a degree). The goal is to raise $4 million, with the majority of it going to support a founding dean, a nationally known leader tasked with expanding the College’s engineering offerings and implementing a new School of Engineering. (The dream is to construct a 40,000–square foot building on Pitt Street next to the library that would also house the Department of Computer Science, which now rents space at Harbor Walk.)

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