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Grove City Academics

zman5zman5 Registered User Posts: 247 Junior Member
edited January 2010 in Christian Colleges
I have applied to Grove City but haven't been able to go visit yet. I've heard they have the best academics out of the Christian(non-catholic) colleges for engineering. Does anyone here have any experience with their engineering program (specifically computer/electrical)?
Post edited by zman5 on

Replies to: Grove City Academics

  • wildwoodscottwildwoodscott Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    My son graduated from Grove City in mechanical engineering in 2006. I highly recommend GCC's engineering program. I graduated from the University of Illinois in engineering and, comparing my son's education and mine, I would say that he received a better education, particularly in the first two years of college.
  • susgeeksusgeek Registered User Posts: 1,603 Senior Member
    Both their Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering programs are ABET accredited, which is an important criteria for choosing an engineering program.

  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    I suspect what wildwoodscott says is on the money. Unfortunately, he's the only one on the planet who would know that reality. The other 99.94% would choose Illinois. GCC is accredited, but not recognized as a top-tier engineering program, either in specific depts. or generally. However, it is among Christian colleges and universities, as there are very few of them. To be clear, neither of these means a hill of beans for you. GCC does not attract or retain renowned engineering scholars, which from a teaching stand point, especially at the early education levels, is probably a plus. Conversely, you can be reasonably certain they will be professing Christians, not practicing pedopiles or gay guys.

    Check out the profiles of engineering students at various institutions vs. GCC (if you can obtain this info.) This tends to be the great plus for GCC. Cost drives up applications, which enables student selectivity. Thus the college's great asset is the academic quality of the students. So if you are a believer that peers are primary to high quality education, it's a particularly interesting consideration. But these kids get jobs and grad school appointments because they are bright and fundamentally educated in the principles of engineering. Not because they studied with top tier educators.
  • zman5zman5 Registered User Posts: 247 Junior Member
    Thanks everyone! I think that really says something if you think it is on the same level as Illinois. Wildwood, how was your son's experience with the career services at GCC? Did he have any job offers when he graduated? Whistle Pig I may be reading into your post too much and if I am sorry, but do you think that education an engineering student receives at GCC just average? Does anyone have any experience with what stats are needed to be competitive for the merit scholarships?
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    No, I'm not pretending to assess that. What I do suspect is that particularly early on, in teaching engineering fundamentals, GCC is probably much more student friendly than nationally touted programs like Illinois, PSU, Michigan, GA Tech, MIT, VA Tech, etc. Besides, most of the attempts to assess programs in engineering is done by specific area, i.e. electrical, chem, etc. So general assessments are silly and offer little genuine insight as to what YOUR undergraduate experience might be.

    Conversely, it's reasonable to suggest several items which can play into your experience, and several I was suggesting include the probability that GCC has few if any recognized engineering stars/scholars among its faculty. And at least in the early sledding, who cares. Work horse, devoted teachers will serve you better, at least in your early education. And you'll likely get more attention at GCC than PSU. And you'll likely be taught by profs you might see in church or chapel. (Now Pitt might be much more like GCC in the student-teacher relationships while still having access to the latest technology, equipment, and research.)

    And GCC's great strength is simply this ...the college gets good students, if not Rhodes Scholars. So ...if you believe that peers rather than profs are key to undergraduate learning, GCC is a very decent place, for sure.

    And in the end, it seems their placement is decent for obvious reasons: Good, bright white students coming from 2 parent, traditional value homes with good work ethics and who know the basics of engineering. Why wouldn't they get hired?

    But it won't be because students are proteges of Einsteinian profs or experts in nano-technology or exposure to all the latest bells and whistles and equipment and processes in engineering or materials sciences. It's just not affordable or happening in GC. And they don't proclaim that either, to their credit.

    You asked about placement, and I've no idea of the current scenario, but some years back, the alumni director also had the job of placement officer, to keep overhead at a minimum. I'd guess they've had to abandon this skeleton structure in today's world.

    What is safe to say, for better and for worse, GCC engineering grads are not discussed in the same breath as GA Tech or MIT engineers, or Michigan or Penn State or Pitt, or even lowly Illinois (which of course, is ranked highly ;)), or Case or Cooper Union or Rose-Hulman, Harvey Mudd, Olin, Bucknell, or the Service Academies. But don't sweat that. It's good enough, and you'll have a nice, bright, hard working peer group. And probably faithful, diligent profs who go to SS & church.

    Some of these will be answered by asking for a roster of the past 5-10 years of grads (don't let them tell you Joe Schmoe, Class of 67, became CEO of Bechtol ...those are total anomalies, and more a function of #s of grads.

    Look completely and closely at current alums. that's where your action will be telling. And then compare the same to other schools you're considering. And if they refuse, saying "gee, none ever asked for that..." red flag.
  • zman5zman5 Registered User Posts: 247 Junior Member
    Thanks WP. I wasn't trying to misinterpret what you were saying so I wanted to clarify. Thats also lot of things to think about/ask when I visit. While it would be very nice to go to a Christian school, the Christian schools that I have looked at in depth so far (Messiah and Cedarville) just haven't had a very strong CE programs. Wouldn't it be nice though if we had a Christian, Harvey-Mudd type school (just wishful thinking I guess).
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    You've asked an excellent question, that can't and won't be answered on a forum. But you and I totally agree that it would be wonderful to have a high quality engineering and other vocational/technical programs at genuinely Christian institutions. And there are such programs, even a few in the hard sciences in several places. Wheaton is among those places that does have nationally recognized scholars in some areas, fabulous on and off campus programs in bio and other science areas.

    But I contend that the primary reason the answer to your GREAT question is too often negative is that the values of Christianity too often clash and contradict those of our secular world, and it really comes to bear in the areas of science and related fields. Ironically, just where you'd think "truth" would be more readily knowable and teachable. But instead, politics, sociology, economics and many other aspects of the world come to bear upon even these "hard" disciplines. And so we have huge numbers of scholars professionally and economically invested in ideas, areas of study, and notions that are fair game for study, but anything but fair game for open thinking and answering. Lest you doubt this, simply look at the idea of global warming (now climate change, since the warming notion seems to not be working out ...), the abortion industry, racial disparities, is there water on the moon, and on and on. The truth is that secularists simply cannot afford the possibility that indeed God created the earth, universe, and holds ALL the answers, some of which simply cannot and will not be revealed thru science that refuses to posit the potential for something so unscientific. There is no chemistry, biology, physics or engineering to explain all of this, is there?

    And what confounds all of this is that the institutions that are preparing most of our professoriate these days are often secular and overwhelmingly liberal in every way. And the concept of tenuring only leads to more of the same ...rather than nurturing freedom of thinking and diversity of viewpoints among professors. And of course, it's virtually only profs who go on to become provosts, deans and presidents.

    And so it is, that our system of higher education is severely broken, not to be redeemed in your lifetime. Totally unable and unwilling to address the pursuit of truth, totally bought into the seemingly contradictory notion that truth is relative ...

    And more so, you are stuck, a victim. You are a faithful follower of Christ, believing that the Holy Spirit is here among us, wanting a world-class education in engineering, and having to settle for either/or rather than a both/and. Well, what this really means is that you'll need to pick and choose. Take what the world can give, but never claim its values for your owned. Become educated for Him. And there is even great value in getting some of that from the Illinois places, as long as you are not deluded into thinking that is all there is or that is God's answer. Become a great man, engineer, and scholar in the world, but knowing this is not what it's all about. You're not OF this world. But don't separate yourself from it. Fight the great fight without becoming weak or discouraged. And do it all in love.

    The short answer ...let's say a Christian "Olin" came along and said ...Let's create a CHRISTIAN engineering school, world class, the best profs $$ can buy, the best and most modern of equipment, lots of FA, and the driving notion will be that GOD engineers EVERYTHING. Great idea that would soon be pooh-poohed in the world's engineering community. Shunned. Mocked. Muted. Belittled. Worse. This was Oral Roberts idea. Now what is left is a U. mired in scandal, outdated in 1960's style campus structures, in short a sad mess of a grand vision. Look @ the inverse ...Princeton. A school founded by Presbyterians committed to scholarship. 99% of today's Princetonians see that as ancient history. And it sadly is.
  • zman5zman5 Registered User Posts: 247 Junior Member
    I agree with you completely. As you said, many of the best colleges are overwhelmingly secular. While I know there are some very good Christian colleges (Wheaton and perhaps Patrick Henry), I have found that they do not have engineering. Grove City was the first Christian college that seemed to have strong academics and a computer engineering program. While I realize that I will most likely not live to see a Christian college like Rose-Hulman or Olin, I guess I am just frustrated that I am forced to make a choice between a Christian college and top academics in engineering. It is just extremely unfortunate since I know that I am not the first Christian who would like to obtain a high quality engineering education. Thanks again.
  • wildwoodscottwildwoodscott Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member

    Whistle Pig has a personal vendetta against GCC. You can read about this and his and my interactions on that at other postings.

    As for GCC faculty, the electrical engineering/computer engineering faculty has people who received their Ph.D.s from Penn State, Carnegie Mellon, Illinois, Montana State, Ohio, and Pitt. See: GCC: Electrical/Computer Engineering Faculty The mechanical engineering faculty received their Ph.D.'s from MIT (the chair of the department and an awesome guy), MIT (again!), Va. Tech, Buffalo, Carnegie Mellon, Carnegie Mellon (again), Illinois, and Virginia. See: GCC: Mechanical Engineering Faculty

    My son decided to go to grad school. He was accepted into Ph.D. programs at the following: Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, Michigan, Purdue, Notre Dame, Illinois, Stanford, MIT, and Georgia Tech. He decided to go to Georgia Tech and loves it. He found that his education at GCC put him at the same level or ahead of his peers. He has now published in peer reviewed journals, and he is about 18 months from defending his dissertation. In his interview at Purdue, the profs there were amazed at my son's recommendations (written by what WP calls "work horse devoted" but not "stars"). He does not know what he's talking about.

    Whistle Pig.. will try to say that my son was typical of the great students that go to GCC that would do well no matter what. The curriculum vitae of the faculty at GCC demonstrate against WP's accusatory assumptions as does my son's experience with faculties at all of the schools which he interviewed for the Ph.D.

    There are good reasons to go to secular schools (two of my children did so). There are good reasons to go to a distinctly Christian one like GCC. You have to decide, but do not believe that you cannot get a great undergraduate education in engineering at a Christian school. You can!

    If you want to personal message me... please feel free.

    LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas also is a Christian school with a pretty good engineering program. Others to investigate are Cedarville in Ohio and John Brown in Arkansas. I wish you all the best.
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    Lets' stick to the issues here. Nothing personal and nothing accusatory. Simply a very disparate viewpoint. I believe I've accurately assessed GCC. If not, where am I off target? Be most interested to learn your viewpoints.

    If you disagree with my points, please address your concerns. I'll stick with my points.

    Good students, solid work-horse professors who no doubt serve those good students well. No identifiable engineering scholars of note. Of course they have their degrees from those noted Ph.D. institutions. They aren't going to get them at GCC or LeTourneau. Minimal facilities. Check them out relative to those others places.

    But, when one cannot defend, the tactic is always try to attack the character of he whom can't be overcome through logic and discussion. Again, let's stick to the issues wildwood. I'm anxious to know your thought about the assessment.

    And I'm fully confident zman can figure out the truth in all of this. It always wins.
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    btw, do check out the links to GCC's 2 engineering faculty rosters.

    They make my points oh so clearly. Even a teaching, non-research engineering program at a Christian college like GCC ...has only 2 of 15 profs with undergrad degrees from Christian colleges. And only 1 from GCC, not coincidentally a woman.

    The point becomes eminently clear. Virtually all engineering profs, EVEN @ the Grove City's of the world ... don't graduate from places like GC.

    One would think GCC would be in dire search for like-hearted profs, even alumni who've bought into it like scott as a parent. So, all that means is 1 of 2 possibilities ... either engineering Ph.Ds w/ undergrad degrees from overtly Christian campuses are few and far between or don't exist ....OR ...if they do, engineers sporting this profile fail to find GCC sufficiently attractive to invest their careers there.

    Either way, it's very telling and instructive if one is a serious student of engineering.

    Scott's son clearly fits the profile I've described ...bright, white, good work ethic, sufficiently prepared to get into a top flight engineering school @ GA Tech. One might wonder, why didn't he go there to begin with, and be guaranteed of a world-class undergrad engineering education. There may be various valid reasons.

    The real validity of scott's championing his son's education will be if that newly minted Ph.D. commits to GCC or LeTourneau. And I'll venture one thought ...not on a bet, IF he's among the top of his class. He'll be going to ...perhaps Illinois. Count on it.

    So you begin to see the issues in this scenario. They become eminently apparent, and illustrating another of my points. At GCC, you'll get profs who are fine, work-horse good guys and gals, but no shining stars. And they will no doubt nurture and teach their students with care and love, a great thing. But don't expect their labs will have the latest in nanotechnology or reverse engineering systems or ... you get it.
  • zman5zman5 Registered User Posts: 247 Junior Member
    I understand WP's point here. GCC is not very attractive to the top engineering professors from a facilities standpoint. WP, I would like to know your opinion on one thing. Do you think that although GCC can't attract top teaching talent with their facilities, that some professors may choose to teach at GCC because it is the premier Christian engineering school and they would like to teach at a Christian college?

    I am not trying to take a side since, right now, all I know has been what others have told me. Thank you to both of you for bringing up some very good points though. WP has provided me with some interesting questions for when I talk to the people at Grove City and Wildwood's son being as successful as he is in grad school shows that GC does provide its students with (at the minimum) a good engineering education.
  • wildwoodscottwildwoodscott Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    Here was zman's original question:

    "Does anyone here have any experience with their engineering program (specifically computer/electrical)?"

    I answered the post because I had experience with GCC's engineering program. So far, I am the only one actually to answer this query.

    By the way, you might want to check out in further detail the excellent research backgrounds of Drs. William and Stacy Birmingham. I don't think they fit the "workhorse" label that WP ignorantly places on them. They have chosen to teach at GCC because of their love for undergraduate teaching in a Christian environment. We all agree that GCC is not a graduate institution--it is a COLLEGE. As such, you won't find the big grant funded research there. But, as my son's experience points out, you can excel both at GCC and beyond in engineering.

    By the way, now that my son has taught undergrads at the "topflight" Georgia Tech, he feels sorry for them. They don't get real profs very often; mostly TA's that don't speak English very well. He has told me that their education is not as good as his was, and most of them need five years to graduate because the teaching is so poor that most students (even those bright Ga Tech students!) have to take courses over.

    Anyone with real engineering background and experience can tell you that the reputation of an engineering school does not necessarily correlate into a great undergraduate education because the rankings of engineering schools are based on peer assessments that skew heavily toward graduate reputation. Thus, although I graduated from the #1 ranked program at the time in the US (and in the world) in my engineering field, I still would rate an undergraduate education in engineering at GCC superior to what I received at "lowly" Illinois.
  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 4,490 Senior Member
    I highly suggest you visit all your choices (including GCC) and see where you feel led to study. When you visit secular schools, include attending some Christian meetings/clubs as part of your experience. Different places appeal to different people. God uses people everywhere.

    That said, I'm not familiar with any specific program at GCC, but I've heard really good things about it - including in Engineering.
  • phear_mephear_me Registered User Posts: 291 Junior Member
    Biola University overcomes the cost of an engineering program problem by simply offering a 3-2 program with USC. You get the Christian experience and the top flight engineering credential. It says something about Biola that USC would be willing to enter into this arrangement with them.

    Physical Science Biola Undergrad
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