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OU Proctorville to offer engineering program

PROCTORVILLE — It’s the techie’s MBA. That’s the way David Koonce, associate professor of Ohio University, describes it.

What he is talking about is the graduate degree program in engineering management that will be offered at the OU Proctorville Center starting in January.

To help prospective students decide if this graduate program is right for them, OU Proctorville plans to have an open house Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6 to 7 p.m.

“The type of students we are looking for are people with a degree in engineering and science who started out their career and have begun to advance and reach a point where they are not doing the type of things they were trained to do,” Koonce said.

But not exclusively. Kim Addis, now the business manager at Ohio University Southern, took the program when it was first introduced at the Ironton campus. She came to it with a business background and found the course work and her previous experience a perfect fit.

“It just gave me a better understanding on how to organize my day-to-day projects,” Addis said. “Whether it is a budget or something to do with payroll.”

And Addis wasn’t alone. Five were graduated from the OUS program and only three had an engineering background, she said.

“One was communications. One business,” she said. “(It’s for) anyone interested in doing more in management. It teaches you what you might need. Anyone with a technical background.”

A look at the curriculum gives an idea of the range of the studies. Included are engineering writing, engineering statistics, economic analysis, marketing for engineers and information systems engineering.

Before this program was initiated, the only other option for those wanting to advance their managerial skills was to pursue a Master’s of Business Administration.

“This degree helps them develop skills they need to manage and control resources at their particular level,” Koonce said. “It maintains the connection with the engineering world.”

The first time this program was offered at a regional campus was in 1998 at Belmont County.

“Since then, we have gone to every campus from Pickerington to Zanesville to Ironton,” he said.

A special feature of the program is that students move as a cohort through a series of classes.

“It means we start a group of students who go through the courses together,” Koonce said. “In a cohort program you start in the same classroom. That way we can make sure we offer all the courses they need.”

During the course of the two-year program, students from various campuses will be brought together to work on projects.

“They are teaming up doing projects with someone across the state … to have that collaborative environment. This is becoming more common in engineering where groups are working around the globe.”