Mechanical Engineering Major Set To Open By 2014

SUNY New Paltz is planning to add a mechanical engineering program to the School of Science and Engineering.

Dean of Science and Engineering Daniel Freedman said the curriculum will be a pivotal addition to the
Hudson Valley.

“Industries in the area are having a difficult time finding mechanical engineers for their businesses,” he said. “By taking in students from the region and training them here, they’re more inclined to seek jobs in the Mid-Hudson.”

In 2007, the School of Science and Engineering housed 90 undergraduate engineering majors, and this year the program has doubled to 180 students,
Freedman said.

As of fall 2012, Binghamton University, Maritime College, Stony Brook, and the University at Buffalo are the only schools to offer degrees in mechanical engineering.

Freedman believes mechanical engineering will give SUNY New Paltz another asset to attract prospective students.

“This program will raise New Paltz’s profile,” he said. “Not only will it bring more people to the department, but it will attract more students to the entire school.”

This expansion will provide undergraduates with new class offerings, more laboratories and increased opportunities for interdisciplinary activities, Freedman said. Associate Professor and Chair of the department of Electrical Computer Engineering Dr. Baback Izadi said the program will strengthen not only the science and engineering department, but the arts as well.

“Both disciplines deal with design,” Izadi said. “In our view, students who have a background in both art and engineering will be high in demand by the high tech industry. Future products have to be technologically sound, but designed in such a way that attracts consumers. Students at New Paltz will have the resources to experience both fields.”

Although plans for the program are already underway, students should not expect to see any changes until fall 2014.

“We’re in the process of expanding Resnick to house lab facilities and faculty offices,” Izadi said. “Once we finalize our curriculum, we’ll send it through the SUNY application process. This time next year, we hope to recruit some freshmen.”

Freedman said the initial first-year class for the program would be by 2014.

Freedman said constructing a new program is an exciting endeavor.

“From the point of view of an administrator, adding a new program is a lot of fun,” he said. “Most of the time, new programs are created by combining existing curriculum, but this is entirely new. Everyone is really excited. The idea has been tossed around for 10 years, but last year we finally decided to follow through.”

Izadi said he is anxious to see how the program benefits students.

“Now more than ever, undergraduates will have more options for interdisciplinary courses and collaborative research with professors,” he said.

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