New Gator Engineering @ Santa Fe program brings more talent into UF by reinventing the freshman year
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Engineering graduates are in high demand as they enter the workforce, and spaces for incoming freshmen at the University of Florida’s College of Engineering are in high demand as well. This year, UF will expand its enrollment to include up to 150 students in a new program: Gator Engineering @ Santa Fe.
GE@SF allows selected students to enter directly into UF’s College of Engineering after they successfully complete prerequisite classes at nearby Santa Fe College. After their first semester — and with the help of a dedicated program adviser – most program participants will be classified as UF students. After their third semester, they will be on the UF campus, full time, with no transfer applications required.
“This collaboration gives us the ability to leverage available facilities and resources on both campuses to grow the number of UF graduates in four engineering specialties that are critical to meeting the demands of Florida’s burgeoning technology economy,” said UF Provost Joe Glover.
Students will be offered special programming while taking classes at Santa Fe, including the popular UF course EGN 1935, “Introduction to Engineering Design and Programming.” This hands-on freshman favorite will be taught at Santa Fe by Dan Dickrell, UF College of Engineering faculty member. The course maintains a general engineering perspective that relates to all engineering majors, with special attention to how design engineers must be aware of larger societal issues, such as sustainability and environmental impact.
The inaugural year of this program will offer four Bachelor of Science degrees: electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and digital arts and sciences. The national average starting salary of these degree holders is about $60,000, compared with the overall bachelor’s degree average starting salary of about $43,000. According to the latest report by National Association of Colleges and Employers, or NACE, these degrees are ranked within the top 10 in terms of jobs outlook and employer demand.
“This is momentous for Gator Engineering,” said Cammy Abernathy, dean of the College of Engineering at UF. “We are transforming the way we approach admissions and education in order to meet the demands of both students and employers. Students from this program will receive a top-notch education in their first few semesters, and subsequently join their peers at UF to finish degrees in the most sought-after disciplines. This is truly a win-win for all.”
The partnership between UF and Santa Fe – which fast-tracks students from a nationally recognized community college into an ABET-accredited engineering program – is an innovative solution to the challenge of expanding admissions to bright and accomplished applicants vying for highly sought-after degree programs.
“This collaboration brings major new student talent to both the college and the university,” said Ed Bonahue, provost of Santa Fe College. “We welcome the opportunity to expand the pool of outstanding students working in STEM disciplines.”
“This kind of collaboration on transfer admissions ought to be a model partnership for other Florida colleges and universities,” Bonahue added.
Select students will receive their letters of acceptance into the Gator Engineering @ Santa Fe program this week. The inaugural class will convene this fall.