Benedictine College Expands Its Engineering Program

Chemical, Civil, Mechanical & Electrical Degrees Now Available

Monday, August 17, 2009

Benedictine College has announced the expansion of its Engineering Program after a year of offering the Engineering Physics major. 

Due to increasing enrollment and interest in the program, the college will provide students with the opportunity to pursue degrees in chemical, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering beginning in the fall 2009 academic year. The expansion is made possible through a partnership with the University of North Dakota (UND), which offers the accredited degrees through its Distance Engineering Degree Program (DEDP).

“We are developing a high quality program that builds on our strengths in the sciences and mathematics and incorporates the complete core of liberal arts courses which make a Benedictine education special,” said Dr. Doug Brothers, professor and chairman of the Benedictine College Department of Physics, Astronomy and Engineering.

Students in the expanded program will take all of their classes on the Benedictine College campus, with the exception of two, two-week summer laboratory sessions at UND.  About 80 percent of the coursework will be taught by Benedictine professors, with the remainder of the classes taught through distance learning with professors at UND.  Students will obtain two degrees: a liberal arts degree from Benedictine College, which includes the complete core of liberal arts coursework, and an accredited engineering degree from UND.

“I know employers are seeking engineers who are not only competent in engineering, but also have the communication and interpersonal skills that are the hallmark of a liberal arts education,” Brothers said.

The faculty and administration of Benedictine College also believe the faith-based nature of the college, which helps students develop morally and ethically, is important in the business world today and is attractive to both students and employers.  Benedictine College will become one of only a handful of Catholic colleges in America to offer any kind of engineering program.  The college has hired Darrin Muggli, a former professor at UND with a PhD in chemical engineering, to head up the Engineering Program.  He began his duties in July.

“I am very excited to help build the engineering program at Benedictine College, which is a great, truly Catholic institution,” Muggli said.  “Our program will produce well-rounded graduates with outstanding technical capabilities, a strong Catholic moral foundation, and excellent oral and written communication skills."

Muggli has nearly 20 years of experience in chemical engineering research and higher education.   In addition to teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in chemical engineering at UND, he has been awarded more than $4 million in research grants over the past 10 years.  He has received two patents on his work and applied for three more.  In addition, he has published many articles in professional journals and has made extensive presentations on subjects relating to chemical engineering, in particular photocatalytic oxidation and decomposition.  He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Society of Engineering Education.  He is married and he and his wife, Dina, are expecting their sixth child.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of the Top 20 Catholic colleges in the nation as well as one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.