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University of Cincinnati and Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China Launched a Co-op-based ‘2+3’ BSME Degree Program

University of Cincinnati and Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China Launched a Co-op-based ‘2+3’ BSME Degree Program

From left to right: Prof. Guang Meng, Prof. Lifeng Xi, Prof. Frank M. Gerner, Prof. Teik C. Lim, Prof. Jay Lee

As of September 2008, the University of Cincinnati (UC) and China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) are offering a “2+3” BSME (Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering) degree program.  “This is part of a broad initiative to develop similar agreements across disciplines with top universities around the world,” says Dr. Mitch Leventhal, Vice Provost for International Affairs.

The UC-SJTU Program is designed to marticulate selected 2nd year Mechanical Engineering, English-track students at SJTU to UC as pre-junior engineering students.  These UC-SJTU students will complete the last three years of UC Mechanical Engineering undergraduate curriculum that includes one year of experiential, real-world learning in industry under UC’s internationally acclaimed cooperation education.  The paid co-op experience, which is a faculty-driven academic program, will take place mainly during the pre-junior and junior years, which is then capped off with another industry-based, capstone design clinic project in the final, fifth year of studies.  Students who successfully complete this program will receive the BSME degrees from both UC and SJTU. 

Currently, five participating students from SJTU have successfully begun taking Mechanical Engineering undergraduate courses at UC in fall quarter 2008.  This class of 2011 students is expected to begin their first co-op rotation in spring quarter 2009 with the last co-op quarter in summer quarter 2010.  A number of multi-national corporations have shown interest in hosting these students as co-op either in the United States or in China.  The projected degree completion date for this first batch is spring quarter 2011.  Upon completion of their studies at UC, these students will return to Shanghai to finish off their final year project as part of the SJTU’s BSME degree requirement.

 On April 4, 2008, a faculty delegation from the University of Cincinnati consisting of Professors Frank Gerner, Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Administrative Affairs in the College of Engineering; Professor Teik C. Lim, Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department; and Professor Jay Lee, Ohio Eminent Scholar and L.W. Scott Alter Chair Professor in Mechanical Engineering, initiated the coop-based “2+3” BSME degree program with Professor Guang Meng and Professor Lifeng Xi, Dean and Associate Dean, respectively, of the School of Mechanical Engineering at SJTU.  During the visit, Professor Lim also gave an hour-long lecture about the program to more than 100 students from the first- and second-year classes SJTU.

UC International has developed a framework which can facilitate development of similar programs in the future. Says Leventhal, “Our strategy is to develop strong ties with top universities, and to then create pathways for the best students into a broad range of UC disciplines. Our hope is that some of these students will proceed on to graduate studies and, eventually, return to their home institutions as instructors and researchers.”

Founded in 1896 by SHENG Xuahuai, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (www.sjtu.edu.cn), formerly the Nang Yang Public School, is one of the top engineering schools in China.  Its Mechanical Engineering Program has been ranked number one in China for the past five years.  Currently, SJTU has developed academic partnerships with a number of universities in the United States, including the University of Michigan, MIT, Georgia Tech and Purdue University.  In addition to its top ranking in China, SJTU has also garnered praise from the American Society for Engineering Education as the top choice for undergraduate engineering students in China with 16,063 degrees awarded in 2006.

The University of Cincinnati (www.uc.edu), an Ohio state-supported, comprehensive Research I institution with more than 37,000 students and an endowment of approximately $1.2 billion — the 25th largest among public institutions in the nation, is the birth place of cooperative education (which was created in 1906).  Currently, over 4,000 students are in co-op positions involving 1,500 employers.  The university has completed a major building campaign designed to make it one of the finest urban settings in American higher education.  The Mechanical Engineering Department is the largest engineering program at UC with over 750 undergraduate and graduate students.  Co-op is a mandatory requirement for all Mechanical Engineering undergraduate students.

A link to UC News is here.