Two years, 200 students, two phases to go

College of Engineering’s ongoing Malaysian outreach bears fruit

ceet-malaysia-400Over the past two years, the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology and the Universiti Malaysia Pahang have laid the foundation for the creation of an Engineering Technology Program for Malaysian students.

The second phase of the partnership, concluded in spring of 2013, included the development of an engineering technology curriculum that included 400-level courses.

More than 200 Malaysian students currently are pursuing an engineering technology degree in Pahang, thanks to the mentorship, guidance and partnership of NIU.

Located in the southern part of the Asia, Malaysia enjoys one of the most prosperous economies on the content. Recently, Malaysia shifted their economic focus and became one of the world’s leading exporters of semiconductor components and devices, electrical goods, solar panels and information and communication technology products.

For this reason, officials determined the country will need at least 60 percent of its workforce skilled in engineering technology.

NIU’s Department of Technology – accredited in this area – was able to build a partnership by sharing its curriculum and expertise while gaining a pipeline of potential students who might come to NIU to finish their undergraduate or graduate degrees.

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Omar Ghrayeb, associate dean for Outreach and Undergraduate Programs, is excited about the momentum of the project.

“After completing phase two of the project, and attracting over 200 students, we are now focusing on phase three and four,” he said, “where we coach our Malaysian partners through the ABET accreditation process and build new emphases into the engineering technology degree.”

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is recognized as the worldwide leader in assuring quality and stimulating innovation in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology education. Currently, all four engineering and technology programs are accredited by ABET at CEET.

The partners plan to strategically choose new emphases for the Malaysian university that will meet government needs and trends in their economy.

Promod Vohra

Promod Vohra

“It is important that we understand that higher education can and will meet specific needs of the global economy moving forward,” Dean Promod Vohra said. “Global partnerships such as these, allow NIU to directly impact how engineering and technology education can shape our economic futures.”

By Year Four, Vohra expects more than 600 students to enter and finish the degree program in Malaysia.

At the culmination of the project, both universities plan to participate in the development of 3 + 1 dual-degree programs where students can begin their education in Pahang and finish by completing 30 credits here at NIU in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. Students who complete this path will ultimately earn two degrees, one from each university.

“Overall, it is exceptional to note, that of all engineering technology programs in the nation, UMP chose ours. It is a credit to our faculty, our facilities, and our overall expertise in this area,” said Cliff Mirman, chair of the Department of Technology. “Today, UMP is teaching engineering technology using the course work developed by our faculty, ensuring that in the future, UMP students are likely to continue to NIU to fulfill their undergraduate and graduate degrees.”

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