Arkansas Tech University is making plans to support the Natural State’s manufacturing industry through the development of a new degree program that will be the only one of its kind in Arkansas.
The ATU Associate of Science degree program in manufacturing, which was proposed by the ATU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the ATU Department of Mechanical Engineering, will include courses in manufacturing processes, methods and statistical analysis.
It will be the first Associate of Science degree program in manufacturing in Arkansas. The program will differ from existing Associate of Applied Science degree programs in manufacturing at other institutions because the ATU program is designed to provide engineering students with access to an additional credential and the career opportunities therein.
“The program is aimed at providing graduates with an understanding of the processes, problems, and overall environment of the manufacturing industry,” wrote Dr. John Krohn, ATU professor of mechanical engineering and interim head of the ATU Department of Mechanical Engineering, in the program proposal. “The program consists primarily of courses common to the first two years of the institution’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering program including targeted elective classes aimed at providing instruction in manufacturing processes, methods, statistical analysis and related topics.”
The program proposal cites data from the National Association of Manufacturing that reveals approximately 12.7 percent of the workforce in Arkansas is involved in manufacturing, the seventh-largest percentage in the United States and the third-largest percentage in the southern region of the country.
“Manufacturing occurs in many of the important industrial sectors identified by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission,” wrote Krohn, “including aerospace and defense, food and beverage, paper and timber products, firearms and ammunition and transportation equipment. There is a need for engineers to understand the manufacturing environment to contribute to the industries noted above.”
The proposal for the ATU Associate of Science degree program in manufacturing was approved by the ATU Board of Trustees on Thursday, Oct. 15. It will be forwarded to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board for its consideration. If approved, Arkansas Tech plans to begin offering the degree in fall 2021.
Visit www.atu.edu/engineering/mechanical to learn more about the ATU Department of Mechanical Engineering.