The Engineering Technology/Manufacturing Education committee’s strategic plan is aimed at improving the university’s ability to recruit more and better students for programs that support area industry. The committee is also looking to improve STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] curricula within local school systems and the Northwest Louisiana Technology College.
“We identified four areas for action,” said committee member Mike Wolff, public affairs manager for Weyerhaeuser Company. Those include communication, K-12 education, university education and technical/community college education. “These would build upon themselves to promote manufacturing education.”
Wolff said Northwestern State’s Engineering Technology and Computer Information Systems (CIS) programs are key to the initiative. Engineering Technology prepares electronics engineering technologists and industrial engineering technologists to work with engineers to design, install and maintain complex systems used in industry today. The CIS program provides training in database, networking, programming, systems analysis and design and web design and development.
“The Engineering Technology program offers degrees in Electronic Engineering Technology and Industrial Engineering Technology,” said Bobby Nowlin, ET program coordinator. “Our graduates fill numerous positions within industry. Positions may be in medical equipment, electronic equipment, oil and gas, communications, wood and paper products, highway construction, power transmission systems, heavy manufacturing and more. Starting positions range shift work, team leaders, project managers, engineers and so on.”
“Our department goal is to inform high school graduates and student transfers that the ET program at NSU offers great employment and career opportunities to our graduates,” Nowlin said
Northwestern State is also the Louisiana affiliate university for Project Lead the Way, a non-profit program that exposes middle and high school students to engineering concepts and STEM careers. Northwestern State offers training programs for teachers around the state who implement PLTW in their classrooms. Experience with PLTW translates to placement and internships for students pursuing careers in business and industry.
The CIS program at Northwestern State is nationally recognized for its excellence in systems analysis and design, database design and development, Internet web design and development and object-oriented programming. The program has been recognized as an Area of Excellence by the University of Louisiana System since 1999 and has won 12 national titles in collegiate software competitions.
“The CIS program is implementing curricula enabling students to seek certification in Cisco, A+, Network + and Microsoft Office components,” said Dr. Jack Russell, program coordinator. “Several major corporations list the CIS program at Northwestern State as exceptional and heavily recruit its graduates.
Russell said systems analysis and design, network design and web design are among the top career paths in America today.
“Cyber security and cyber forensics are two information technology career paths that are growing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “NSU’s CIS program also has courses that prepare students to enter the cyber security and forensics arena.”
The Engineering Technology/Manufacturing Education committee will meet from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30. The meeting will be held in the Natchitoches Room of Russell Hall on the NSU campus.
For more information on Northwestern State’s Department of Engineering Technology visit engrtech.nsula.edu. For information on the Computer Information Systems program, visit engrtech.nsula.edu/computer-information-systems-home.