Starting from "scratch"-a summary of experiences in the first year of the collaborative electrical engineering program between missouri university of science and technology and missouri state university


The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement in August of 2006 was followed by another year of planning, procurement of equipment, development of classroom and laboratory space, and recruitment of program faculty. The plan was to "phase in" both the Civil and Electrical Engineering programs on the MSU campus. Only freshman level classes were scheduled for the first year, and then sophomore level classes would be added in the second year. Junior level classes would be added in year three and senior level classes in the fourth year. Thus, the complete four-year undergraduate program in both Civil and Electrical Engineering would be in operation by the fourth year of the collaborative effort. The first Missouri S&T engineering classes were held on the MSU campus in the fall semester of 2008. Approximately 50 students were enrolled in the program at MSU. Faculty and administrators at both Missouri S&T and MSU have generally expressed satisfaction with the implementation of the collaborative agreement to date. However, most also generally recognize that there are still many other details that need to be "fleshed out." In addition, there will be other issues that will no doubt surface as the program progresses. A survey of students enrolled in the collaborative program on the MSU campus revealed that they generally expressed a high degree of favor with the program (4.3 on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being highest). Many indicated that their circumstances would not allow them to pursue an engineering degree outside of the vicinity of Springfield and thus this program gave them the opportunity to study engineering. Others indicated that they desired to study engineering but had elected to attend MSU for other reasons, such as athletic programs, scholarships, and friends or family members already attending MSU. The process of starting the Missouri S&T Electrical Engineering program at MSU proved to be a challenge for the author, even though the intention was to simply duplicate the existing Missouri S&T Electrical Engineering program on the MSU campus. Some of the lessons learned in the process are summarized below: 1. While it is a relatively simple process to sign a collaborative agreement, the details of actually implementing the agreement are far more complex than it would initially appear. 2. It also takes more time to work out implementation details than one might expect. 3. The time spent advising existing and potential students was considerably greater than the author anticipated. This was believed to be due to the fact that the program was new and many students had questions about how the program was going to function. 4. In spite of the release of what was considered to be considerable publicity about the details of the program, many students still had misunderstandings about the program. The most common of these misunderstandings was the perception the students in the program would still have to transfer to the Missouri S&T Rolla after completing two years at MSU. It is probably impossible to anticipate all the institutional and curriculum issues that will come up in the start of a collaborative electrical engineering program. It is hoped that the author's experience, as recorded here, will be of use to others considering such a collaborative effort. It should also be noted that the development of this collaborative electrical engineering program is still a "work in progress" and that procedures and policies in place at this point in time may be modified or changed as the program continues to develop.


Engineering Program

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Journal Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings