OCT. 31, 2001

• Mike Stepanovich, CSUB, 661/664-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu

• Shirley Armbruster, Fresno State, 559/278-5292, shirley_armbruster@csufresno.edu

• John Chandler, CSUN, 818/677-5674, jchandler@exec.csun.edu

Three CSU campuses linked in interactive program

California State University, Bakersfield students who aspire to a career in engineering will soon be able to take their third year engineering classes at CSUB, thanks to a collaborative effort with two of CSUB's sister campuses.

Beginning in January, pre-engineering students at both the main CSUB campus and the CSUB Antelope Valley campus will be able to enroll in third-year engineering courses transmitted into CSUB's interactive instructional television classrooms from California State University, Fresno and California State University, Northridge.

The interactive classrooms allow students in Bakersfield and Antelope Valley to attend classes, receive instruction and be able to participate in class discussion with instructors at the Northridge and Fresno campuses in real time.

Currently CSUB has a pre-engineering program that covers a student's first two years. After completing the first two years, CSUB engineering students may transfer to either Cal State Northridge, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo or Fresno State to complete their degrees.

The program also encompasses the engineering programs at Bakersfield College and Antelope Valley College.

AVC is modifying its curriculum to include pre-engineering courses that will allow AVC students to segue into the program at CSUB's Antelope Valley campus.

Bakersfield College will also work with CSUB to give BC students the
opportunity to participate in this collaborative effort while completing undergraduate course work in engineering at the community college. BC has offered engineering and engineering technology degrees for 31 years. BC provides instruction in all the courses required for two full years of engineering education.

The innovative program announced today addresses a longstanding community desire to see engineering offered at CSUB. Research shows a local need for an engineering program. CSUB economics professor Mark Evans, interim dean of the CSUB's Extended University, conducted a study last year that showed 142 job openings a year for engineers in the Bakersfield area.

CSUB President Tomas Arciniega has long pushed for an engineering program, and while he would have preferred to initiate CSUB's own program, he recognized that current economic realities would not allow it at this point. Hence the joint venture with Northridge and Fresno.

"We are delighted that through the cooperation of our sister campuses in Northridge and Fresno we are able to bring engineering to Cal State University, Bakersfield," Arciniega said. "This is an important step for the university and the community. We have long believed that an engineering program is essential to the curriculum for a comprehensive regional university, and this program allows us to meet the needs of students in our service area."

Arciniega thanked Fresno State President John Welty and Cal State Northridge President Jolene Koester for their help in bringing engineering to the southern San Joaquin and Antelope valleys. "This is a win-win situation," he said. "Through the good offices of presidents Welty and Koester we have been able to utilize the CSU's technological resources to provide these classes to our students."

Welty said he was delighted to help expand educational opportunities. "The use of interactive instructional television is clearly the direction of the future in delivering engineering education to a large number of communities," he said. "We look forward to a long-term relationship with Cal State Bakersfield."

Koester echoed Welty. "This new program is an excellent example of Cal State campuses using our academic diversity and technological capacity for the benefit of our students," she said. "We're very pleased to be part of this partnership, demonstrating that
CSUN continues to be a leader in using technology to expand
opportunities for students."

Under the terms of the agreement between the three campuses, the program will work this way:

Cal State Northridge and Fresno State will offer third year engineering major courses through interactive television at the CSUB campus and CSUB's Antelope Valley campus beginning with the spring semester, which begins in January 2002. Students who complete their third year at CSUB will then need to transfer to Fresno State or Cal State Northridge to complete the engineering degree studies and receive their degree.

Four courses will be available this spring, two from Fresno and two from Northridge. Eight courses - four from each campus - will be available in the fall 2002 semester. The courses will be semester courses, as both Fresno State and Cal State Northridge are on the semester system. CSUB is on the quarter system.

"Fresno and Northridge will share in the delivery of upper division major courses," said Tom Meyer, interim dean of CSUB's School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering. "CSUB will provide upper division general education and a small number of cognate courses, such as computer science."

The program is similar to one CSUB formed with Cal State Long Beach a few years ago when CSUB's master's of social work program was being initiated. CSUB students began their graduate coursework in classes taught by CSULB, and ultimately segued into CSUB courses.

Whether the engineering program has a similar outcome is not yet known, but Meyer said it's part of a commitment to bring engineering to Bakersfield.

"Clearly President Arciniega's and my goal is to have our own engineering program, but through this program we're moving forward in our efforts to provide engineering education to the southern San Joaquin Valley."

Funding for the program will be provided by the CSU chancellor's office the first three years, "then enrollment is expected to carry it," Meyer said.

"At the moment, we're restricted to electrical and computer engineering classes. But in the future, we're considering expanding to include civil and mechanical. ... We're utilizing the existing educational facilities in the southern San Joaquin Valley, and our sister campuses are helping out."