ASU Engineering’s westward expansion
Fulton Schools bringing engineering education, expanded resources and bigger aspirations to ASU’s West campus
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs recently expressed her excitement to a gathering of hundreds of people — including other state policymakers — about plans to launch projects to add facilities and broaden science and engineering educational endeavors at Arizona State University’s West campus.
Hobbs said an expansion of academic programs and courses, along with related research and public outreach endeavors, will generate long-term benefits for growing West Valley communities in the greater Phoenix metro area, especially in boosting the local economy and encouraging industry expansion.
The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is playing a major role in elevating the learning opportunities and regional impacts of the ASU West campus by launching its first courses there this fall.
In Fall 2023, students will have the opportunity to enroll in Entrepreneurship and Value Creation and Engineering Projects in Community Service, or EPICS, courses, as well as a computer science and engineering programming course for non-engineering majors.
These are foundational courses for engineering studies that focus on engineering-related knowledge and skills that can also be valuable for students majoring in a variety of academic disciplines, says Professor James Collofello, the Fulton Schools vice dean of academic and student affairs.
“We want to provide courses that are going to reflect the value of education in engineering in many professions and in opening research and job opportunities in many other fields,” Collofello says.
The Fulton Schools will team with the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU’s West campus to stress the importance of students engaging in community service and other kinds of experiential learning to get the full benefits of higher education in almost any field, says Jeremy Helm, the Fulton Schools senior director of academic and students affairs.
The Fulton Schools plans to offer an undergraduate degree in engineering science that will include multiple concentrations within the field.
“The idea is that it would offer different flavors of engineering science,” Helm says, “for instance a concentration in business or an engineering science microelectronics concentration that will give students specialized advanced skills that high-tech industries are seeking.”
Such approaches fit the blueprint for a significant part of the Fulton Schools’ effort to help give ASU West a forward-looking distinction in its academic approach. That plan centers around establishing a School of Integrated Engineering, which would focus on providing students a strong foundation in math, science and engineering with specializations in areas that are integral to the engineering industry, from business to technical roles.
“It’s all about the kind of education culture we want to develop,” Collofello says. “It’s integration as a guiding concept to create more opportunities by designing education in ways that engineering expertise can be incorporated into all kinds of businesses and industries, even those that are not primarily technical.”
It also intersects with another major educational contribution the Fulton Schools will make to ASU West. Associate Teaching Professor Brent Sebold, the school’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation director, is extending his work to the campus.
Whether he is working with faculty, staff, alumni or students, Sebold says his job is to help people adopt and develop an advanced entrepreneurial mindset.
“We want every single person affiliated with the Fulton Schools to be able to think and act like an entrepreneur,” says Sebold, who will be bringing the Entrepreneurship and Value Creation course to the West campus and making it available to students in any academic program.
He will be collaborating on this mission with Kristin Slice, director of community entrepreneurship for ASU’s J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute. She works with business and community leaders to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Slice will help Sebold guide students in shaping their own engineering and entrepreneurial mindsets, with the aim of devising solutions to real-world engineering challenges.
In the process, Sebold says he and Slice hope to see students be guided not solely by the profit potential of entrepreneurial ventures, but also by aspirations to produce positive societal impacts through their startups.
Fulton Schools Assistant Teaching Professor Adwith Malpe will be another key contributor to helping ASU West students immerse themselves in hands-on engineering education. He will be teaching the EPICS course, which involves students organizing teams to tackle various challenges in providing engineering solutions to meet local community needs.
“We already have connections to help us get students matched up with the people, organizations and resources to get EPICS projects off the ground,” Malpe says. “I’m looking forward to seeing students’ enthusiasm for opportunities to learn about engineering by applying it to solve existing problems.”
Beyond the three new courses available in the fall, plans are already in motion to bring more engineering courses to ASU in 2024.
“Not everything is in place yet, but we are primed to move forward in bringing more of what we offer at ASU’s other campuses to the West Valley,” Collofello says.
Along with engineering courses, Fulton Schools students will also find resources to help them engage productively within the campus environment and in the surrounding communities.
Mitch Tybroski, the ASU West campus’s associate director for student connection and community, helps to oversee activities and collaborations involving student groups and local organizations and municipalities.
Students can get assistance from Tybroski and others in connecting with the campus community and student organizations, participating in learning activities outside of the classroom or seeking guidance in multiple areas of student life.
“Our campus has a very welcoming culture and good rapport between students, faculty and staff,” Tybroski says. “I think engineering students coming here in the future will find a collaborative and encouraging educational experience.”