CSUCI engineers new program

Officials at Cal State Channel Islands recently signed the final paperwork needed to bring an engineering program to the school next year.

The public university is set to offer a mechatronics program as early as fall of 2018. Mechatronics combines elements of mechanical, electrical and software engineering.

The program will begin with 24 students and add the same number each year until it reaches an enrollment of around 100, said Michael Soltys, chair of the computer science department at CSUCI, which will house the major. Soltys said he believes mechatronics will be very popular.

The program will bring three new professors to the university.

Soltys said the new major will fill a need in Ventura County. A study published three years ago by the state’s Employment Development Department showed that around 300 new engineering positions open in the area each year.

“ We are the only public university in the county and we didn’t have engineering. The naval bases were clamoring for engineering; the manufacturing companies were clamoring for engineering . . . everybody needed engineers. We’re happy that we’re providing something that the community really wants. We’ve had a lot of support for this from the beginning,” Soltys said.

He said the program will allow companies in Ventura County to hire locally instead of having to look for engineers from other areas.

Soltys said he hopes to have the program certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology within five years.

Prospective students who will be university freshmen in fall 2018 can apply to the major starting this October during the regular application period. The major is not open to transfer students at this time.

“This is the beginning of engineering at CI,” Soltys said.