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Engineering Department Chair Announcement


Dr. Olga Pierrakos, an Associate Professor of Engineering at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA has accepted the position of Chair of Engineering at Wake Forest University. For details about Prof. Pierrakos and her plans for the Department, please see



The mission of the engineering major is to educate students in an engineering curriculum that embraces and supports the unique culture of Wake Forest by combining the liberal arts core, innovative entrepreneurship, and engineering. The program provides an undergraduate engineering education that embodies the teacher-scholar ideal, emphasizing the close faculty-student engagement that is the hallmark of the Wake Forest community. Our goal is to attract enthusiastic students from around the US and the world who will make important contributions to solving society’s most pressing problems, fulfilling the Pro Humanitate motto of Wake Forest University.


Within a newly formed Department of Engineering ¬†that resides in Division V (Mathematics and Natural Sciences), the program will be conducted jointly on Wake Forest’s Reynolda Campus and in the new initiative location in downtown Winston-Salem, called Wake Downtown. The major will educate students in general engineering principles resulting in a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. The program optionally allows students to focus their studies by electing a track in Biomedical Engineering or a minor in Biomaterials Science and Engineering. Wake Downtown is a new effort to establish a set of programs in Biomedical Sciences and in Engineering in new facilities being established at the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem. By 2021 we expect the Department of Engineering will consist of a Department Chair and about a half-dozen full-time faculty members. In addition, associated faculty who hold primary appointments at Wake Forest University Health Sciences, known as Core Associates, will contribute to the major by teaching advanced courses.

Rollout of the Major

Establishment of the Department of Engineering and the Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree program will phase in over four years, beginning in the fall of 2017. The first graduating class of majors is planned for the class of 2021. Faculty, staff, students, and courses will be gradually established over the four-year period 2017-2021.  It is anticipated that the culminating major design experience will be offered (in 2020-2021) in a new classroom specifically designed as Innovator Space that has an open format so student teams and faculty mentors can work on projects with maximum flexibility and creativity.

ABET Accreditation

The planned curriculum has been designed to satisfy the requirements necessary for ABET accreditation. However, an Engineering program cannot apply for ABET accreditation until after the program has graduated its first class. Since Wake’s program is being planned with the class of 2021 in mind, we expect to apply for ABET accreditation in the year following the graduation of the class of 2021. Any program that earns ABET accreditation, has the accreditation applied retroactively to the previous year’s class, i.e. to the class of 2021.

Wake Forest University News Announcement