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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new engineering degree at the University of Tennessee-Martin was approved unanimously Wednesday by the UT board of trustees academic committee.

The new bachelor of science degree would replace the engineering technology program, which the committee voted to terminate. It is subject to approval by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Bryant Millsaps, THEC executive director, said the THEC has imposed a one-year freeze on degree programs in seven academic areas, including engineering, to cut costs and prevent duplication of unneeded programs.

Dr. Margaret N. Perry, UT-Martin chancellor, said the new program would:

* Allow UT-Martin engineering graduates to become licensed engineers in Tennessee. Current engineering technology graduates cannot.

* Better meet the needs of West Tennessee businesses and industry.

* Save students money by reducing by six the number of credit hours required for an engineering degree, and cutting by a third the number of courses required.

Perry said the new degree program was designed after a two-year study involving industry, UT faculty and consultants. It is based on the American Society for Engineering Education’s report “Engineering Education for a Changing World,” she said.

Perry said the broad-based, geographically-tailored program would boost the West Tennessee economy. It was requested by the business community, she said.

“We see this as a better program for engineering, at less cost, and essential to the economic development of West Tennessee,” Perry said.

Contact: Bud Grimes (901-587-7615)