Henderson State University’s Department of Physics will soon become the Department of Engineering and Physics.

Henderson State University’s Department of Physics will soon become the Department of Engineering and Physics.
The university’s Board of Trustees approved the change March 16 to reflect a more accurate description of the degrees and minors offered by the department.
The board also authorized Henderson to change the name of the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics to Bachelor of Science in Engineering. The minor in Engineering Physics will become a minor in Engineering.
The changes will be presented to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Higher Learning Commission for consideration.
“The name change was needed to more accurately reflect the majors and curriculum offered by our department,” said Dr. Rick McDaniel, chair of the physics department. “We spent years gathering information, talking to many students, alumni and employers before the decision was finalized.”
McDaniel said students in the region want a nearby university where they can pursue a degree in engineering.
“Industry in the surrounding area expressed needs for qualified engineers,” he said. “The demand for STEM-qualified graduates is growing. We can fulfill those needs.
“In addition, it was felt that the change was needed to increase marketability of the program and clarify who we are in our recruiting efforts.”
McDaniel said the department recently added 18 hours of additional engineering courses and is exploring additional specialized tracks in mechanical, electrical and computer engineering.
“We are actively working toward accreditation by ABET, the accrediting organization for engineering programs,” McDaniel said. “The department is fully committed to achieving accreditation at the earliest date possible.
“From buying equipment and building relationships with local and regional employers, to developing curricula that addresses the challenges of the 21st Century, we are providing students with a high quality engineering degree that will help our students pursue employment or further education.”
Trustees also approved an undergraduate certificate in Project Based Learning in Teachers College. The coursework will provide a hands-on approach to teaching and learning that engages students in effective collaboration, student-driven inquiry and assessment.
In addition, the board authorized changing the name of the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration to Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration/Public Management.