The Engineering Department starts its second year as an established major with more than double the number of students than last year.
Dr. Rusty Towell, chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering , said it had only 30 students last year but more than 60 students call themselves engineering majors this year.
“The number of students we have now is the number of students we thought we’d have after five years,” Towell said. “We’re growing much faster than we had anticipated.”
In the past, students were only offered the physics major and had to go to graduate school to learn about engineering or enter into the field right out of college.
Dr. Kenneth Olree, the director of the department of engineering, said the department was created to satisfy the high demand for an engineering education.
“For some students, they might have found it a little harder to get into the engineering field from physics,” he said. “In some cases, students decided they really wanted engineering and so they would go to another school.”
Before coming to ACU last year, Olree was a part of Harding University’s new engineering program.
“What was exciting to me about coming to ACU was I could get in at the very first of the year and really, hopefully, sort of capitalize on the things that Harding did well and at the same time avoid the mistakes that will hopefully make it even better,” Olree said.
Olree said the Engineering Department has many events in the works such as building competitions and community service projects modeling “Engineers without Borders”.
“We’re trying to do some things that will be not only interesting but fun for the students,” Olree said.
Candace Brooks, sophomore engineering major from Bedford, said the department has grown so much that some of her classes are taking place in the library to provide more space.
“I wasn’t expecting it to explode like that,” she said.
Brooks said she was surprised at how much more there was to learn about the world after taking classes in physics and engineering.
“You think you know how the world works,” Brooks said, “then you get into physics classes and then you’re like, everything you know is wrong, pretty much, and is way more complicated.”
Brooks said she can see God’s handiwork in the wonders of the world and feel his power in the way things interact.
“Even, like, simple things we think we understand, we really don’t,” she said.
Students who are interested in learning more about the Physics and Engineering Department are encouraged to contact Dr. Ken Olree at firstname.lastname@example.org.