New engineering school provides career, global experiences

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University recently inaugurated the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences (SEAS) on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

The latest academic unit within the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, the school will offer undergraduate and graduate engineering and computer science degree programs. The undergraduate programs are accredited by ABET.

Approved by the WSU Board of Regents this year, the school will provide students with transformative international experiences and help meet the high demand for engineers and computer scientists in the region and state.

A ribbon cutting at the SEAS inauguration included WSU Tri-Cities vice chancellor Michele Acker-Hocevar, left, regent Lura Powell, SEAS director Joseph Iannelli, college dean emerita Candis Claiborn, Tri-Cities chancellor Keith Moo-Young and WSU first lady Noel Schulz.

“A lot of baby boomers are going to be retiring,” said Noel Schulz, WSU first lady and professor of electrical engineering at WSU Pullman. “In the areas of electrical engineering, civil engineering and mechanical engineering, we are going to have a lot of replacement jobs come open.”

SEAS incorporates several majors without departmental separations in order to foster increased real-world interdisciplinary collaboration, which is what students will experience in the workplace, said executive director Joseph Iannelli. For instance, students from electrical and mechanical engineering and computer science worked together this year to design, build and test a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle.

“This project exemplifies the polytechnic experiential nature of the SEAS degree programs, which also involve laboratory experiences and internships in order to graduate profession-ready students well versed in both the theoretical and applied aspects of their majors,” said Iannelli. The school also is expanding international opportunities for students. Earlier this year, WSU received European Union funding to support student and faculty research exchanges.

The funding is part of WSU’s focused initiatives to grow and expand international collaborations for engineering, computer science and other WSU faculty and students with leading overseas universities. These include the Technology University of Dresden, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and Zurich University of Applied Sciences. At Zurich, a student exchange program and an international double master’s degree program, the first of its kind in Washington, have been established.

“These efforts are an investment that pays dividends and elevates the reputation of WSU on the world stage as an excellent international partner to address societal problems on a global scale,” Iannelli said.

For more information, contact Joseph Iannelli at 509-372 7420 or