By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Western Kentucky University regents Friday formally approved joint engineering degree programs with the state's two largest universities.
Under the arrangements, which have been in the works for several years, Western will team up with the University of Kentucky to offer bachelor's degree programs in mechanical and civil engineering. Western will forge a partnership with the University of Louisville for a bachelor's degree program in electrical engineering.
Western President Gary Ransdell hailed the partnerships, saying that producing locally trained engineers would become a "primary economic development driver" for the region.
Western's regents had authorized development of the joint programs in recent years after extensive negotiations with UK and U of L. Students at Western have been enrolling in engineering-related classes in anticipation of the joint programs.
University of Kentucky officials say they are still discussing the program and haven't approved it yet.
Ransdell said enrollment has grown to about 300. The first engineering graduates are expected to get their diplomas next May. The graduates will be allowed to take the state licensing examination, Ransdell said.
"And we're on the road to accreditation in these programs," he said.
Most of Western's start-up costs will be covered by state appropriations of $375,000 in the current fiscal year, and the same amount the following year. Western has agreed to make funding for the engineering programs a priority in future state budget requests.
The engineering programs will be housed in a building now under construction on campus. Western has hired a new department head for the engineering program and several faculty members.
Ransdell said the engineering programs have been well received by the region's corporations and manufacturers. Western has raised about $5 million in private contributions, he said, enough to create two professorships and one fully endowed chair, he said.
The school also has obtained "lots of scholarship money" for engineering students, Ransdell said.
Jammin' is laid-back street fest
Dancin' crowd helps festival pick up the pace
Pathologist's conviction reversed
College grads find dream jobs elusive
Hamilton soldier shot dead in Iraq
IN THE TRISTATE
Event honors traditions
Robbers hit bar; patron shoots
Obituary: Jean Angela Noppenberger, Sister of Charity
Tristate A.M. Report
Number of audits likely to grow
Fire captain accused in abduction
Hey west side, you're next
McNUTT: Author to lead writers' session
Faith Matters: Moms honored at area services
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Gas leak closes road by Lebanon
Suspect returns for trial in 1974 killing
Cleanup spoils summer
A snip for charity
Fugitive who owes victim imprisoned
Victim receives $550,000
Pickerington parents propose pay-to-play to salvage activities
President picked for Cleveland Foundation
Ohio contests unemployment fine
Historic highway helped America grow westward
Boarder pleads guilty to murder of Mount Victory councilwoman
More animal farms avoid regulation
Bathroom passes ease wait for new coaster
Land wanted by airport to cost $9.5M
Tired of your old tires? Now's your chance
Western regents OK joint engineering degree programs with UK and U of L
Murder suspect had violent history
Three charged for meth lab
'Probable' case of SARS being treated in N.Ky.
N.Ky. Rep. Lucas one of only four Democrats who voted for tax cut
Escapee gives up after tear gas lands
Court upholds dismissal of case against Mexican
WKU dorm fire, death prompts review of safety
Court rules in favor of W.Ky. industrial park bond issue
Child-support lawsuit targets candidate
Candidates spent $12.5M
Cleanup proceeding at Paducah plant