URI's International Engineering Program
finds a new home on Kingston Campus
KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 15, 1999 -- The International Engineering Program,
a unique and innovative program that allows students to graduate skilled
in both engineering and a foreign language, has had a strong presence at
the University of Rhode Island since its start in 1987. This year, however,
it has also gained a physical presence as the program recently moved into
the former SAE fraternity house on Upper College Road.
The house will be open for tours from Noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, April
16, with an official dedication ceremony at 4 p.m., featuring remarks by
Frank Curtin, CEO of Browne and Sharpe in N. Kingstown and URI Provost M.
Beverly Swan, among others.
Last year, when the SAE house became vacant, German Professor and International
Engineering Program (IEP) director Dr. John Grandin of Wakefield saw a chance
to enhance the program by further integrating it into students, residential
life. He then made arrangements to lease the property from the fraternity's
"We really leaped at the opportunity to have the entire program
housed under one roof with a residential option for students. It's a new
concept, said Grandin.
As part of the lease agreement, the fraternity renovated the house to
meet the IEP's specifications. All of the walls, windows, and door frames
were replaced and sprinkler, heating, and air-conditioning systems were
installed. URI, which has been a strong supporter of the program and the
house, built a ramp in front of the house for handicapped access and wired
all rooms for Internet access, cable, and phone. Private donors and corporate
sponsors donated $100,000 to furnish the rooms.
The final result is a like-new facility that can accommodate up to 40
students. The house features 25 rooms, a guest-faculty mini-apartment, program
offices, a laundry room, recreation area, dining room, study hall, and a
Twenty URI students and seven students from the Technical University
of Braunschweig, Germany were the first to occupy the house in November.
"I could not imagine a more ideal place to live than the IEP house.
It has an excellent location, is beautifully decorated and furnished, equipped
with the latest technological advances, and allows me to live with many
intelligent people whose goals are similar to my own, said sophomore electrical
engineering major Michael Smith, of Highland, N.Y.
"The IEP was strong before the house was in existence, but now it
is even stronger. The IEP house is a physical representation of who we are
and where we are going, said Smith.
The IEP is a five-year program in which graduates earn a Bachelor of
Arts degree in a language and a Bachelor of Science degree in a selected
field of engineering. The curriculum consists of intensive language courses
in German, French, or Spanish; several upper level engineering classes taught
in that foreign language, and a six month internship overseas at an engineering
firm. Many students also opt to spend a semester studying abroad to further
absorb the culture.
The program was the first of its kind across the nation, and has been
cited as a national model for international engineering programs. The University
of Connecticut and RICE University in Texas are currently developing programs
based on URI's model. The program has received a prestigious national award
for innovation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
and has a 100 percent employment rate. Past graduates have gone to work
with prestigious firms both locally, such as Brown and Sharpe in N. Kingstown,
and abroad, such as DaimlerChrysler in Germany.
For More Information: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-2116