Two new degree programs at FIU aim to develop students as leaders in engineering, computing and education, by preparing them to tackle local, national and global challenges.
FIU’s School of Universal Computing, Construction, and Engineering Education (SUCCEED), in collaboration with the STEM Transformation Institute, have launched a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary engineering and a doctoral degree in engineering and computing education research.
The degrees were approved by the Florida Board of Governors. FIU is the first university to offer an engineering education doctoral program in Florida and the first to offer a program with a computing education focus in the U.S.
“These programs will shape the next generation of students into engineers and computer scientists with interdisciplinary knowledge and the critical competencies employers are looking for,” said FIU Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth G. Furton.
The bachelor’s program includes classes on science, engineering, business, leadership, entrepreneurship, as well as projects-based courses.
“Instead of having students focus on one engineering discipline, the students develop a broader view of the engineering profession as a whole,” said Mark Weiss, founder and interim director of SUCCEED and associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Engineering & Computing. “A perfect example is the automotive industry with self-driving cars, which requires engineering talents not only in mechanical engineering, but also in environmental engineering for emissions; electrical engineering for radar for collision, all electronics; and computer science and engineering for AI, robotics, sensors and vision. A student who graduates with a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary engineering can be hired for a multidisciplinary engineering position.”
The doctoral degree aims to develop students as researchers and leaders in engineering and computing education research with a strong focus on diversity, inclusion and equity. SUCCEED’s faculty members and graduate students will collaboratively engage on projects that connect educational research and innovation to broaden participation and improve the educational experiences for engineering and computer science students.
According to Alexandra Strong, a SUCCEED professor, this program will prepare graduates for a variety of career trajectories, enabling them to conduct groundbreaking research, design innovative and evidence-based instructional practices and drive changes in educational policy.
“Our graduates will lead the field in addressing critical issues facing engineering and computing education,” said Strong, who is also an affiliate of the STEM Transformation Institute in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education. “The education of engineers and computer scientists is not limited to higher education settings. Our faculty examine learning, development, along with issues of inclusion and equity in K-12 and even in industry.”
SUCCEED is also researching the effectiveness of community outreach events through the Center for Diversity and Student Success in Engineering and Computing, which is under the SUCCEED umbrella. Each year, thousands of K-12 students visit the College of Engineering & Computing. The collaboration between SUCCEED faculty and the center will open up new opportunities for Florida students and capture the impacts of such programs on engineering and computing students statewide and nationally.