OREM — Graduating students at Utah Valley State College may be missing job opportunities because the school lacks an engineering degree program.
Large companies in need of engineers often send recruiters only to schools that offer engineering degrees, even though they need graduates with accounting, human resource management and other business-related skills, said Wayne Mangelson, senior director of Career and Student Employment at UVSC.
Mangelson said that hurts schools like UVSC, which offer programs in the related areas but not in engineering.
"It does affect the entire campus," Mangelson said.
Mangelson was among 75 college administrators, students and business leaders who met Friday to discuss the lack of engineering degrees at UVSC. Utah State Sens. John Valentine, R-Orem, and Parley Hellewell, R-Provo, also attended.
UVSC currently has a two-year pre-engineering program. Students who complete pre-engineering either transfer to another college to receive an engineering degree, or they continue at UVSC and major in related fields such as math or one of the sciences.
The closest thing to an engineering degree offered at UVSC is the computer science major with emphasis in computer engineering or software engineering.
Students say that's not good enough because the word "engineering" will not be first on their diplomas. They worry they will struggle convincing potential employers they have engineering skills.
"As someone going through the computer engineering program, when we graduate we only have a computer science degree," student Stephen Shaw said.
Shaw said his program is close to the computer engineering programs at other colleges. He wants his diploma to have the "correct degree for the title that we've worked so hard to earn."
Computer engineering could become UVSC's first engineering degree.
Within the next 12 months, UVSC administrators plan to propose computer engineering and software engineering degrees that are separate from the computer science degree, said Tom McFarland, dean for the School of Computer Science and Engineering.
UVSC spokesman Derek Hall showed the Deseret Morning News a "short list" of degrees that administrators hope to offer in the future, and both computer and software engineering were on that list.
Also on the list were degree proposals in related fields that are not actual engineering degrees: engineering technology, engineering graphics design technology, electronic engineering technology as well as instrumentation and control systems engineering technology.