High Point University main gate generic

One of the entrances to High Point University

HIGH POINT — High Point University says its new engineering school has the official OK to begin enrolling students this fall.

The university announced in August that it planned to open a new engineering school in the 2019-20 academic year.

But HPU had to clear one big hurdle before the school could enroll students: Its main accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, requires universities to seek its approval for significant academic changes.

That approval has been granted, HPU said Wednesday.

The Webb School of Engineering will offer degrees in two new programs — computer and electrical engineering. HPU’s existing computer science program also will be part of the new school.

HPU a year ago named a founding dean: Michael Oudshoorn, who previously was an associate professor of computer science and information systems at Northwest Missouri State.

Since then, HPU said it developed curricula and hired three new faculty members to start in the fall. The school will be based in Couch Hall on campus.

The school is named for a Charlotte family whose son attends HPU. Mark Webb, the student’s father, is a HPU graduate and CEO of a Conover company that makes polyurethane foam components.

HPU said it plans to seek additional accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. ABET certifies engineering and computer science programs at colleges and universities worldwide. Most North Carolina colleges and universities with engineering schools hold ABET accreditation.

High Point University becomes the fourth area university with an engineering program. N.C. A&T, Elon University and Wake Forest University all offer engineering degrees.

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Contact John Newsom a 336-373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.

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