In the midst of its ongoing $400-million campus metamorphosis that has – among other aspects – seen the addition of more than 1 million square feet of new space, Newark-based New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) recently presented the creation of its School of Applied Engineering and Technology (a unit of NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering), at a ceremony featuring an array of speakers. When fully implemented, the school will serve some 2,200 students via approximately 34 staff instructors and about 100 auxiliary faculty.
A bevy of baccalaureate degree programs ranging from mechanical engineering technology to electrical engineering technology and manufacturing engineering technology, for example, will be offered. NJIT said, “Designed to meet spiraling demand in the job market for applied engineering technologists in industries reliant upon production, manufacturing, process control and instrumentation, the new school will emphasize internships, co-ops and apprenticeships within private industry and government. ‘Makerspace at NJIT’ will provide additional opportunities for students to design and develop technology-driven devices.”
NJIT President Joel Bloom told the audience that the United States annually requires 1.3 million new STEM employees, yet the nation is generating only half of that figure. He explained, “That is one of the rationales for this kind of School of Applied Engineering and Technology, and the overall growth of this university, that now stands at about 11,600 students [in total].”
Moshe Kam, dean of the Newark College of Engineering and emcee of the event, earlier told the audience, “Much of what is done nowadays in some polytechnical universities focuses not at all on manufacturing and production, but on the strong technology in the service economy. Think, for example, about technology used by the banking industry, centered a few miles to the north; or technology used in airport control a few miles to the south. These require engineering, but they provide services, not products.”
Robert Cohen is chair of Newark College of Engineering, is on NJIT’s board of visitors, NJIT’s Board of Trustees – and is also vice president of global research and development and chief technology officer of Stryker Orthopaedics, part of the medical technologies firm, Stryker.
He alluded to the fact that many people might not know what “applied engineering” actually is, explaining that at his firm, for example, it might range from execution and design of medical implants and 3-D printing, to integration of new engineering systems on the factory floor and improvement of manufacturing processes to lower the cost of goods, production and operations management, as well as quality control and safety engineering.
He declared that such endeavors are also about “Simply solving problems. … That’s what these students will actually be able to do, and contribute in a big kind of way. NJIT has been amazing, producing a product that we call ‘graduates’ that help out with innovation.”
Cohen additionally said, “In my role as chief technology officer, I can adamantly say: There is a definitive need, and a growing need, for hands-on engineering that matches exactly what companies absolutely require at the present moment. [If] you want to be competitive with a global economy, you’d better do it, and you’d better do it fast.”
Paul A. Sarlo, deputy majority leader in the New Jersey Senate, District 36, said, in part, that NJIT knows how to receive financial investments and how to “turn out students who are practical in nature, and are immediately ready to hit the job running, quite frankly. And that’s what this new School of Technology is about.”
Stephen P. DePalma, chair of the NJIT Board of Trustees, said, “Establishing this School of Applied Engineering and Technology is the next step forward for NJIT, in its pronounced growth; certainly its rise in confidence and reputation.”