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GPC to offer engineering class at RCA

CONYERS -- This fall will mark a milestone for Georgia Perimeter College's partnership with the Rockdale Career Academy.

For the first time, the college will offer an engineering class to Newton and Rockdale county area high school and college students that will introduce them to the bachelor's degree program at Georgia Tech.

In the fall, GPC will offer Engineering 1603, Introduction to Engineering, from 7:45 to 9 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday at RCA, which is located at 1064 Culpepper Drive, off Parker Road in Conyers.

"This is a great asset for high school students interested in Dual Enrollment and planning a career in engineering," said Jeff Meadors, dual enrollment coordinator for GPC's Newton campus. "I like this course because it demonstrates to Newton/Rockdale area college students, including Dual Enrollment, that we at GPC are serious about our mission of expanding access and enrollment capacity to students in these areas."

The course is open to all students admitted to GPC and to students in the college's Dual Enrollment program; however, the class would be an out-of-pocket expense to Dual Enrollment students since it's not covered under Accel or Move on When Ready funding, he said.

"There has been such interest in engineering in the Newton and Rockdale communities that we wanted to begin these offerings," Meadors said. "GPC is committed to the continuous improvement of our local course offerings to meet the needs of local students."

The class is part of the college's Regents Engineering Transfer Program, which allows qualified GPC students who successfully complete the engineering curriculum to seamlessly transfer to Georgia Tech to complete their baccalaureate in engineering.

"They can take a college-level course that is part of the RETP qualifications with Georgia Tech, and they can take this course right now, while they are in high school," Meadors said.

Students who enroll in the course will earn 3 credit hours with GPC. In the class, students will get an overview of various engineering disciplines and career choices; explore civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical and other major disciplines in engineering; record and analyze data; and learn basic statistical tools for quality control, according to the course listing.

It requires students to have already taken or be taking Math 1113, Precalculus, or Math 2431, Calculus I.

After taking Engineering 1603 and the required math course, students in the RETP program at GPC also will need to complete 65 other course hours, including science courses in chemistry and physics, various math and English courses, American government and other courses in engineering, including graphics and design, computing, AutoCAD courses and dynamics.

To secure a transfer to Georgia Tech, students must earn a cumulative grade-point average of 2.7 or higher. The program offers small class sizes, tutoring, meetings with Georgia Tech advisers and access to GPC's Computer and Engineering Club, according to a program flyer.

If the first RCA course is successful, GPC plans to hold more at the school in the future.

"We do hope, based on student interest, to offer additional engineering courses in the spring of 2011," Meadors said. "No engineering classes are offered at the Newton campus. If students want to take an engineering course with GPC, the only local option is at Rockdale Career Academy. There are some offerings at other GPC locations outside of our community."

Students who are in Dual Enrollment with an interest in enrolling in Engineering 1603 in the fall should call Meadors at 770-278-1309 or e-mail jeff.meadors@gpc.edu.