Students will soon be able to pursue two new degree options through the University of Utah’s Asia Campus. In Spring of 2021, Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering (ECE) courses will launch to incoming freshmen studying in Korea. U students studying in Salt Lake will be able to take ECE courses at the Korea campus as early as Spring of 2022.
Both degrees offer exciting possibilities for engineering students looking to add international experience to their academic resume. “These are highly structured courses of study,” noted Randy McCrillis, Office for Global Engagement Executive Director, clarifying that historically Engineering majors have had a hard time integrating international experiences into their studies without significant impacts to their course plan. “Opening these degrees [at the Asia Campus] offers the ability for students who couldn’t go abroad before to go and to stay on plan.”
Korea’s standing as a global leader in information and communication technology offers exciting opportunities for students in both new majors to get hands-on experience and internships. McCrillis noted developing internship opportunities with semiconductor companies as a prime example.
Speaking directly to students, Electrical and Computer Engineering department chair Dr. Florian Solzbacher remarked “The real litmus test for every engineer is whether what we do helps people and improves the world around us. In the end, family and the people we care for and the time we have are the most valuable asset we have. So, what do you do with the time you are given? Electrical and Computer Engineering allows you to couple meaning and impact with lifelong learning and, in many cases, well compensated jobs.”
The U Asia Campus launched opened in 2014 with a strong liberal arts core and is now seeking to balance those offerings with a focus on STEM fields. Electrical and Computer Engineering will join the previously established Civil and Environmental Engineering, Communication, Film & Media Arts, Psychology, and Urban Ecology undergraduate programs. The campus also hosts Master of Public Health and Master of Biomedical informatics programs.
New prospects at the U Asia Campus are not limited to students. “This is incredible for faculty that want a new experience–especially for tenure track faculty who sometimes find it harder to carve out time to work internationally–to go, explore Asia.” Labs and the associated research capacity will be opening in the coming year to support the new majors and faculty will be able to teach for a semester, including summer term, or a full year. Both new majors offer faculty greater research capacity by going to Korea.
“There’s a lot of new knowledge coming out of Asia,” said McCrillis, and The University of Utah’s Asia Campus offers a great way to be part of it.