A Vision for Collaboration
For many years, Ball State University has offered its physics students a pre-engineering program. This program has allowed students to begin their studies at Ball State with the intention of transferring to a four year engineering program for their degree. However, when Dr. John Millis arrived on campus and became the Department Chair of Physics and Astronomy, he noticed that Ball State’s retention rate was suffering, in part due to the rate of pre-engineering students leaving the university for schools with full engineering programs. He began to craft a plan for students to receive an engineering degree without having to transfer to a different university.
Before coming to Ball State, Dr. Millis worked as the Dept. Chair of Physical Sciences and Engineering at Anderson University, and he actually started the engineering program during his time there. Because of this, he was very familiar with Anderson’s engineering program and knew that it would be a great complement to the current pre-engineering program here at BSU. Anderson University is also ABET accredited in all of its engineering programs, making it a great choice for any student interested in this degree. And, since Anderson’s campus is only 30 minutes away from BSU, the commute is feasible for students.
These conversations had been in the works for a couple of years, but after Dr. Millis joined the team at Ball State, he was able to facilitate communication between the new Anderson University Department Chair of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Dr. Benjamin McPeron and other faculty, which was the final push to make this program a reality. According to Dr. McPeron it was a “no-brainer” to start this new partnership.
It is a win-win for both institutions; AU gains more engineering students and BSU gets to retain their students for longer. –Dr. McPeron
Now students from both universities will benefit from excellent, undergraduate-focused atmosphere for engineering education from a program validated by external accreditation. Ball State students will also get to keep the community they have built for the duration of their undergraduate careers, rather than transferring out halfway through and having to rebuild community from scratch. Through this program, students will only have to pay for tuition at Ball State and upon graduation receive two separate degrees, a degree Physics from Ball State and a degree in Engineering from Anderson University. The program is designed to take place over 5 years, which students taking courses on each campus most semesters, this helps ensure that students build connections on both campuses throughout their time in undergrad.
Patrick Taylor, a Ball State Sophomore, felt inspired to join this new Engineering program due to the opportunities it presents to design and create new products that could one day help companies and people be more successful. After hearing the details from Dr. Millis, his applied immediately and got accepted a week later. He loves getting to work with faculty from both AU and BSU and knows this partnership is allowing him to network and get hands-on experience than students elsewhere. Additionally, Patrick is so appreciative of how much his professors care about what he is doing and how invested in him they are.
They care about what I am doing and are willing to make changes in their schedules to fix any conflicts in my schedule I may have due to the commute.– Patrick Taylor
Patrick is not the only student with such a positive experience. Lindsey Herrera, a Sophomore is this program as well, has loved getting to pursue to her educational goals in engineering while remaining a BSU student. After deciding the nursing program at Ball State wasn’t for her, Lindsey wanted to enter the pre-engineering program, but was hesitant to apply because she didn’t want to transfer out and lose her scholarships. However, when she called Dr. Millis, he presented her with a new program in which she could stay at Ball State and accomplish her educational goals.
I believe that this program will give me more opportunities in my future career because I will have two degrees when I graduate. I could start my career, get my master’s or a Ph.D., or even go to medical school.– Lindsey Herrera
She also loves how she is able to have to completely unique experiences by being a student at both universities. Anderson University prides itself on small class sizes, which gives students an opportunity to work one-on-one with professors and get personalized attention for their needs. On top of that, Ball State offers students great networking opportunities and gives students the big university experience of activities like football games, student organizations, and Greek life, while providing stellar education. Overall, the students currently enrolled in this program have greatly enjoyed their experience in this partnership and are excited to see it through.
To Future Students
Both Dr. Millis and Dr. McPeron are looking forward to seeing the program develop and expand in the coming years. They are hoping to attract more students by helping them see the amazing deal they are getting through this partnership.
You are getting two bachelor’s degrees for the price of one. You only have to pay one tuition to attend both universities and graduate with a degree in Physics and an accredited degree in Engineering. Your opportunities will be endless. – Dr. Millis, Department Chair of Physics and Astronomy, Ball State University