College of Science & Engineering

Moratorium FAQ

Industrial Technology - Vehicle Design Moratorium

What is a moratorium? 

Putting a program into moratorium allows the department to suspend enrollment of new students into the major in order to reevaluate and redefine the curriculum without affecting new students.  Any significant, substantive, or transformational changes can therefore be made without causing disruption to students in the program.

What happens to the students who are currently declared majors in the IT-VD program? 

Current majors will be able to complete their degrees.  The courses they require to complete the major will be offered.

What are other degree options to pursue instead? 

The Engineering & Design department has ABET accredited program in Electrical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, and Plastics & Composites Engineering.  More information is about these programs is available on our web site and from our Pre-major advisor Lisa Ochs (lisa.ochs@wwu.edu).

What happens to the FSAE team? 

The FSAE team will continue to exist and compete.  Last year – at the request of the students on the team – we switched to a trio of faculty advisors (one from each engineering program).  We are fully committed to both the continuation and success of the FSAE team.

Why was this action taken? 

Accredited degrees provide graduates with competitive advantages and accreditation helps to maintain program quality.  The IT-VD program is unaccredited, and we do not believe that it is appropriate to continue to offer an unaccredited degree.

What does accreditation require? 

Accrediting the program as an engineering program would require changes to the program curriculum, the addition of a continuous improvement process, and having sufficient faculty devoted to the program, which requires additional resources.  The resources issue cannot be solved with internal funds.

What has been done to get resources for the program? 

We have tried to get funding to transition the IT-VD program to an engineering program in each of the last four state operating budget request cycles. 

  • In 2013 the IT-VD program was included in the request to transition the engineering technology programs (Electronics, Manufacturing, and Plastics) to engineering, but that request was funded at a level that only allowed the three engineering technology programs to transition to engineering. 
  • In 2015 a proposal to transition the IT-VD program to engineering was included in the state operating budget request, but it was not funded.
  • In preparation for the 2017 state operating budget request, the proposal to transition the IT-VD program to engineering was resubmitted, but it ended up as one of the runners up and was not included in the state operating budget request.
  • In preparation for the 2019 state operating budget request, a new proposal to transition the IT-VD program to engineering was submitted to the university approval process, but based upon university-level feedback, the College of Science and Engineering did not believe that it was as strong as proposals from other areas, so it was not put forward as one of the finalists for inclusion into the state operating budget request.

 

What is next? 

The only source of recurring funding is the state, so we will put together a new proposal to fund the development of a Vehicle Engineering program as part of the 2021 state operating budget request process.  This process has already begun and will continue throughout this academic year and into next academic year.

When will we know if the program has the funding it needs? 

As late as June 2021.

How can I help? 

There are a few ways:

  • In the short term, the FSAE team always needs financial support. 
  • If and when a proposal to fund a Vehicle Engineering (or similar) program is submitted to the state as part of Western’s state operating budget request, corporate support for it will be important.  If your company is supportive of such a program and would consider hiring the graduates of it, letters of support would be much appreciated.
  • If a program is funded it will need strong industry connections in the form of an Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC).  If a Vehicle Engineering program would have a connection to your company, consider serving on the committee or recruiting someone from your company for it.  Ideally an IAC is 50-60% alumni, so not everyone on it should be a graduate of the IT-VD program.

 

How would the program leave moratorium? 

The path to exiting moratorium is a feasible plan to achieve accreditation, appropriate funding to execute that plan, and a team of faculty, staff, and industrial partner companies who are dedicated to the challenging work of seeing the plan through to its fruition.

posted 11/20/18