JONESBORO – The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees approved the academic reorganization of the areas of agriculture and engineering as a part of its meeting today.
To take advantage of growth in interest both from students and industry, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse advocated the creation of a College of Engineering and Computer Science.
“I have heard from local and regional industry about the need for more engineers in our region, and we know that computer engineering and programing is one of those areas of special interest to a growing number of technology businesses in the Jonesboro area,” Damphousse said. “After speaking with our faculty over the course of the spring semester, I am recommending this change that allows us to become better prepared to meet these needs.”
The dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr. Tim Burcham, himself an agricultural engineer, will continue to serve as the interim leader of the new college. A search for a new permanent dean of engineering and computer science will begin immediately.
“I appreciate the work Dr. Burcham has done to bring together the areas of agriculture and engineering the past couple of years, and his leadership during this transition period will be extremely important,” Provost Dr. Lynita Cooksey said.
The decision to shift computer science from the College of Mathematics and Sciences was to better align growth opportunities in computer-related engineering as well as traditional programing areas.
“Jonesboro has a robust and growing tech sector that needs workers with the kind of programing and soft skills that only come from a four-year program,” Damphousse said. “We look forward to working with local companies and with organizations like the Jonesboro Unlimited’s talent development pipeline initiatives.”
The ABET-accredited engineering programs have been vital to the growth of Jonesboro’s industrial sector, notably the city’s position as the home of some of the world’s leaders in conveyor logistics.
“We have great local partners like Hytrol, whose engineering team is dominated by A-State graduates,” Damphousse said. “We want to continue that and expand our ability to be a critical partner for our entire region.”