UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

UND Engineering continues to expand reach

New partnership – latest in series with liberal-arts colleges – offers students at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio, chance to earn UND Engineering degree

UND President Andy Armacost shakes hands with Richanne C. Mankey, president of Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio, after the two presidents signed a dual-degree partnership agreement. Under the agreement, Defiance College students simultaneously can earn both a math degree at Defiance and an online engineering degree from UND. Photo by Tom Dennis/UND Today.

Thanks to a new dual-degree partnership, students at Defiance College in Ohio can earn both a math degree at Defiance and a Civil or Electrical Engineering degree from the University of North Dakota.

The project takes advantage of UND’s long history of offering fully accredited online engineering degrees. Defiance College, a private college of about 500 students in Defiance, Ohio, is the 10th campus with which UND’s College of Engineering & Mines now partners in dual-degree programs.

“The College of Engineering and Mines has been a pioneer in distance engineering education for over three decades,” said the UND college’s dean, Brian Tande.

“The capabilities we have developed allow us to deliver our programs in innovative ways in order to reach students for whom an engineering degree would not otherwise be accessible.

“We’re very excited to be able to add Defiance College to our list of partners,” Tande said. “This agreement will allow students to study engineering and prepare themselves for a wealth of career opportunities while also benefiting from Defiance’s very student-focused learning environment.”

Filling a need

And for Defiance, the partnership offers an exceptional new opportunity that the college can provide for its students, said Richanne C. Mankey, Defiance College president.

“When I arrived at Defiance College, I did a listening tour,” Mankey said. “I spoke with people on campus, of course, but also with community leaders and business owners. And I asked them, ‘What do you need from Defiance College?’”

The answer was engineers and welders, Mankey said. “And I said, ‘Well, we probably can’t do welding. But let me see what we can do about engineering.’”

Today, that goal is being reached, as Defiance students who study for a math degree on campus simultaneously can take online courses to earn a UND Engineering degree. (Some online Engineering degrees at UND call for students to come to Grand Forks over the summer to experience labs in the University’s state-of-the-art facilities.)

Agnes Caldwell, academic dean at Defiance College and vice president of academic affairs, celebrated the new partnership and the opportunities it offers. “We’ve had a large number of prospective students who’ve been interested in engineering over the years, and we’re thrilled to be able to meet that need,” she said.

“We already have started talking about the partnership with our new students at their recent orientation, and a number of our current students also have asked about it.”

Moreover, Defiance is adding faculty in both math and physics, with the goal of making sure students who take the dual-degree track have all the support on campus that they need, Caldwell said.

The agreement calls for Defiance students to take a total of five years to complete their two degrees. “Our students will be earning a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Defiance, while studying for their UND bachelor’s degree in either Civil or Electrical Engineering,” Caldwell noted.

“And we hope to expand those offerings with UND’s other great engineering programs as the partnership evolves.”

Executives from UND and Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio, gather at UND on June 20 to sign and celebrate the new dual-degree partnership agreement between the two institutions. From left are Brian Tande, dean of the UND College of Engineering & Mines; UND President Andy Armacost; Defiance College President Richanne C. Mankey; Agnes Caldwell, academic dean and vice president for academic affairs at Defiance College; and Eric Link, provost and vice president for academic affairs at UND. Photo by Tom Dennis/UND Today.

‘A winning formula’

On June 20, President Mankey and Dean Caldwell from Defiance visited UND to tour the campus and sign the new agreement in person with UND President Andy Armacost. Said Armacost, “This partnership promises to be a great way for UND to deliver high-quality engineering programs for Defiance College students.”

“Through this collaboration, UND and Defiance both can strengthen their enrollments, while enabling Defiance students to not only earn engineering and math degrees, but also keep attending the Ohio college they love. We’re proud to be a leader in this innovative and cost-effective educational model.”

The new arrangement stems in part from UND and Defiance’s work with the Lower Cost Models Consortium, a coalition of private colleges and universities committed to making higher education more accessible for students and sustainable for the long term. The consortium specializes in helping its institutions collaborate to offer more academic programs, especially in fields that are in high demand in the marketplace.

Last year, Forbes magazine described the consortium in a column under the headline, “A winning formula: Collaboration, curricular expansion and lower costs.”

“This is one of many innovations that colleges across the country are working on collaboratively to increase their affordability,” the column concluded.

“This is a step in the right direction, and we need to encourage more such creative and innovative endeavors.”