Computer Engineering Degree Finally Comes To UVU
May 18, 2012
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Brad Plothow (801) 863-7149
Written by: Brad Plothow (801) 863-7149
The Utah State Board of Regents on Friday approved the creation of a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering at Utah Valley University. The degree, which will go into effect for the fall 2012 semester, is seen by UVU and industry officials as a vital move to support the region’s workforce development needs.
“The approval of this degree is especially rewarding because we have been advocating for how important it is to students and the business community for a long time. This degree program represents a major step forward for UVU and the industries that rely on computer engineering expertise in Utah and beyond,” said UVU President Matthew S. Holland. “We applaud the Board of Regents for approving this program, which will be a boon to the ongoing efforts to make Utah a top destination for careers, corporate expansion and the development of cutting-edge industries in technology and computing.”
Prior to today’s passage by the Regents, the UVU Board of Trustees first approved the degree for consideration clear back in April 2002, with a revised version being accepted by the Trustees in December 2007. Since then, UVU has offered an emphasis in computer engineering within its Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, but the UVU and business community have been working in concert for years to make a case for this bachelor’s degree to come forward.
The addition of the computer engineering degree is an important step in UVU’s efforts to respond to workforce demands and fulfill the institution’s role as a hub for economic development. Local employers with growing needs for computer engineering talent have expressed to UVU officials a desire for more qualified people to fill high-tech roles. The Utah Occupational Projections 2008-2018 report, published by the Utah Department of Workforce Services, projects about 250 annual openings in the state for jobs related to computer engineering, with median hourly wages between $37 and $44 — far above state averages. In Utah County alone, a survey of 39 employers last year found an imminent need for an additional 27 computer engineers.
“Approval of the computer engineering degree is an essential move in aligning the talent needs of industry with the workforce development capabilities of higher education in a dynamic, fluid way,” said Greg Butterfield, chair of the UVU Board of Trustees and an executive in the high-tech sector. “It is good for students, industry and the state when our colleges and universities can be responsive in this way, especially at a time when good jobs are scarce.”
Studies conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce suggest that information technology is expected to be the fastest growing employment sector in Utah with a 37 percent increase expected between 2008 and 2018. The addition of a bachelor-level content area in computer engineering closes an educational gap in the highly technical computer science area at UVU.
“We now have a full hand when it comes to offering baccalaureate-level programs in all the major content areas in the computer science field, which is important for students and employers alike,” said Ernest Carey, dean of the UVU College of Technology & Computing.
The computer engineering program will provide students with academic and technical foundations for careers that deal with the full scope of computer system development, from design to implementation and including hardware and software. These computer systems, sometimes called embedded systems, are components of a vast array of commercial products, including cell phones, mobile devices, automotive systems, household appliances and medical devices. The UVU computer engineering program will prepare students to use current techniques and best practices to create technical specifications and complete complex projects.
“Simply put, Utah needs more computer engineers, and making computer engineering programs available to more students is a means to help satisfy that need,” said UVU Vice President for Academic Affairs Ian Wilson.
Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to more than 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.