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High Point University announces new Webb School of Engineering

High Point University

HIGH POINT – High Point University will establish the new Webb School of Engineering as the university’s transformational growth plan continues.

The founding dean, Dr. Michael Oudshoorn, has been hired to lead the school, in which students can now enroll and major in computer science with three concentrations within the degree: cyber-security, software and systems, and visual computing. Oudshoorn, who has more than three decades of teaching in a higher education setting, is also working to develop additional majors and programs within the school. Since 2004, he has been a member of ABET, the non-governmental organization that accredits college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. He currently serves as the executive committee member-at-large of the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.

The school will be the university’s ninth academic school and the fifth academic school established since Dr. Nido Qubein became High Point University’s president in 2005.

“This new academic school aligns with HPU’s mission to prepare students for the world as it is going to be,” says Qubein. “We have a strong base for engineering through our existing computer science program. We have gifted faculty with strength in this area, and we have an amazing partnership with one of the greatest innovators of our time – Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence.”

The school honors Mark and Jerri Webb, successful business owners and strong university advocates. The Webb’s, who have been generous donors to the university in the past through a gift to the Webb Conference Center, have committed an additional major gift in support of the School of Engineering.

“As HPU prepares the next generation of leaders, my family and I are honored to support the future of HPU students and the values of God, family and country HPU represents,” says Mark Webb. “We look forward to seeing lives transformed through the educational opportunities that HPU and this new school will provide.”

The Webb School of Engineering will house the university’s existing computer science major and further opportunities to major in cyber security, information systems, information technology and electrical engineering. A degree path in biomedical engineering is also being considered.

The school will be housed in Couch Hall, which will undergo extensive renovations to accommodate engineering and computer science programs.

The plan is to offer additional degrees in computer engineering and electrical engineering next year, pending SACS approval. The curriculum is currently being developed, and hiring new faculty is being considered in these areas.

“We are most fortunate to have been able to recruit and hire Dr. Oudshoorn as the founding dean of the School of Engineering,” says Dr. Dennis Carroll, university provost. “Dr. Oudshoorn’s experience in the area of computer engineering and his recognized involvement with ABET will ensure a high quality program for our students. The creation of HPU’s School of Engineering reflects the university’s commitment to providing programs that prepare students for a changing world and a technologically advanced landscape,” says Carroll.

“This is a great time for High Point University to be developing engineering programs,” Oudshoorn said. “The Department of Labor Statistics forecasts steady growth in all engineering and computing disciplines for the foreseeable future, and the new programs will permit us to address these employment and societal needs.”

Oudshoorn was a professor at Northwest Missouri State University and received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Adelaide, Australia. He previously worked as an associate professor in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Northwest Missouri State University. Oudshoorn has more than 15 years of senior university experience as a department head, associate dean and dean. He has a track record in international student recruitment, curriculum improvement and development, process improvement, fiscal management, change management, mentoring of faculty and guidance of research students.

“I was drawn to HPU because of the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude that are prevalent across campus,” says Oudshoorn. “It is a unique opportunity to build a world-class program to address the needs of our stakeholders, including our students who will study in the program, as well as the industry leaders who will hire our graduates.”

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