Wayne State University’s Board of Governors on Wednesday has approved the nation’s first graduate program to train electric car engineers.
The new programs, scheduled to launch in fall 2010, include a bachelor of science in Electric Transportation Technology (ETT), a master of science in Electric-Drive Vehicle Engineering and a graduate certificate program in Electric-Drive Vehicle Engineering, a subset of the master’s degree.
The WSU Electric-Drive Vehicle Engineering program was developed in partnership with Macomb Community College and NextEnergy, a Detroit nonprofit agency that promotes energy technologies. It was kick-started with $5 million in federal money and was part of a larger stimulus package from the U.S. Department of Energy.
“We see a new era coming and we want to be a player,” said WSU College of Engineering Interim Dean Mumtaz Usmen. “Armed with this knowledge, our students will be sought after by the OEMs and their suppliers.”
Wayne State students enrolled in the new programs will develop a skill set for each sector of the industry. The Bachelor of Science in ETT, the first of its kind in the nation, formalizes a 2+2 articulation agreement with area community colleges or equivalent lower division programs. The structure enables students to enroll at the community college level, receive an electric vehicle technician associate’s degree after two years, and then complete the bachelor’s degree in ETT at Wayne State after an additional two years of instruction.
Usmen noted that Wayne State, which is located in Detroit, has a long history of working hand in hand with the automotive industry to produce the world’s top engineering talent and place students in highly competitive jobs. Wayne State started its Alternative Energy Technology program in 2000, leading universities worldwide and creating a platform upon which it was able to immediately utilize the U.S. Department of Energy funds for educating students.
“Our vision is to make this program strong and accessible,” Usmen added. “We are leading the education effort in the nation by teaching and training people to work for companies across the automotive supply chain and help make the transition to renewable energy sources more efficient and systematic. Our goal is to teach students to continue to learn even after they graduate and equip them to seek out the resources they need to remain current and job-ready for the future.”[source: Wayne State University]