Ferguson named associate dean of Kimmel School

Chip Ferguson, associate professor in the engineering and technology department at Western Carolina University, has taken over as associate dean of academic affairs for the Kimmel School as of October.

Ferguson has been a faculty member of WCU since June of 2002. Ferguson filled various positions over the years within the Department of Engineering and Technology. He has served as interim department head for nearly a year and associate department head for a year. Along with his various administrative roles within the department, Ferguson also remained an associate professor.

“Teaching is my passion, but at this stage in my life if I can help somebody set up an environment figuring out how to channel talented professors to help students, I will,” said Ferguson.

Among other projects, Ferguson is working on adding a bachelor of science in engineering (BSE) program to WCU. The faculty senate voted on the program Wednesday, Oct. 31, according to Ferguson. The program’s intent to plan emerged about six years ago. Now, the program is set for mapping within the next four years. Ferguson plans to seek accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

“Without [the accreditation], we might as well close down,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson also works with both the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) and ABET throughout his time, helping him to ease into the position of associate dean along with previous experience in the program, previous work with academic processes on campus and his educational background.

“Currently, we have a great program. I hope that the quality of the programs and collaboration of the faculty is maintained. I’d like to make it greater and change when it’s needed,” said Ferguson.

When Ferguson came to Western Carolina University 10 years ago, he did so “primarily for the region.” Ferguson came to the area with an attraction to the surrounding land, nearby family and an appreciation of WCU.

“We have an application-based program. The application of engineering theories is just as important to the discovery,” he said. “It’s a great environment. Everyone works well together.”

If and when he leaves, he will be leaving having earned his doctorate in education, filled a wide span of positions in the university system and having left a permanent mark on the engineering and technology program.

On how long he plans to remain at WCU, Ferguson smiled and said, “As long as I’m useful to Western.”