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New Degree Program to Debut in Fall 2024 at Washkewicz College of Engineering

Biomedical Engineering Program Looks to Set the Golden Standard

As Cleveland State University (CSU) continues to be on the cutting-edge regarding technology, you can add another feather to its cap when creating a new major for students.

A new bachelor's program emanating from the Washkewicz College of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering (BME) was spurred on by the arrival of Dean Richard Schoephoerster. While master's and doctoral students could choose that major, undergraduates never had the opportunity. 

That is, until now.

After arriving at the college, Schoephoerster tasked the department with exploring the possibility of creating this program. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of biomedical engineers is projected to grow by 10% over the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations. As it stands, the State of Ohio produces fewer graduates in BME at the undergraduate level than will be needed. More specifically, in the Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Metropolitan areas, there has been a lot of activity in the healthcare ecosystem over the past few years, which could benefit immensely from a locally trained biomedical workforce.

That got the ball rolling and led to the Bachelor of Science in BME being officially rolled out to students beginning in the fall semester of 2024. The department is now recruiting new students for the program. Current pre-engineering and pre-med students will also be able to enter the program at the sophomore or junior level, with the first class expected to graduate in Spring 2026.  

Over the past two decades, CSU has significantly invested in recruiting faculty across disciplines (engineering, sciences) who perform cutting-edge research in the biomedical field and teach specialized and advanced courses in biomedical (and related) engineering. This is reflected in research expenditures, courses offered, and other productivity measures.

"CSU has an established teaching and research infrastructure and mentoring pipeline in engineering and sciences that can absorb, train, and graduate students in biomedical engineering without any strain on the existing resources," said Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Chandra Kothapalli. "We envision this new BS program in BME at CSU offering students in the State of Ohio, as well as out-of-state and international students, an additional interdisciplinary option to choose from and benefit from."

He continued:

 "There is an emerging consensus among the medical professionals that the US healthcare workforce (e.g., physicians, nurses, educators) might face significant shortages over the next several decades due to critical staffing shortages arising from retirements and departures (pandemic burnout), aging population, and patient empowerment, among other reasons," said Kothapalli. "A multidisciplinary workforce trained in medical and technology literacy, telehealth, big data, artificial intelligence, and health data security might contribute effectively towards solving some of the future healthcare needs. Inter-disciplinary fields such as biomedical engineering stand at the forefront of such diverse workforce training."

Another benefit is that the Biomedical Engineering program is cross-disciplinary and involves faculty from other engineering departments at CSU (e.g., Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering) and the Cleveland Clinic (e.g., Cardiology, Imaging Institute/Radiology, Eye Institute).

More than 25 faculty from the Cleveland Clinic hold adjunct faculty status in the Washkewicz College of Engineering and currently host graduate students at their Cleveland Clinic labs, teach specialty electives at CSU, and participate in joint research projects. The vision is that the undergraduate students in the Biomedical Engineering program will gain firsthand exposure to exciting fundamental and clinical research happening at CSU and at the Clinic.

If that isn't enough, the program intends to be an essential contributor of talent for the JobsOhio Cleveland Innovation District funding. It expects to fill 20,000 new jobs over the next ten years in areas that include health technologies.

"I am very excited about the possibilities here in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio for this program," said Schoephoerster. "With a vibrant partnership with Cleveland Clinic, combined with both institution's commitment to the region through the Innovation District, I am convinced that this program will change lives and improve the economic and health conditions of the region."

This article originally appeared at csuohio.edu.

About CSU and the Washkewicz College of Engineering 

Cleveland State University is a public institution in Cleveland, Ohio. The university has over 16,000 students enrolled in programs at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral levels. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Washkewicz College of Engineering offers graduate and undergraduate programs. The undergraduate programs are accredited by ABET. This year, the College will celebrate its Centennial Anniversary. Visit csuohio.edu/fenn100 to support and engage in activities. To learn more about the College, please visit: engineering.csuohio.edu