Paper science major renamed to avoid confusing students

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Paper science major renamed to avoid confusing students

OXFORD — The paper science and engineering major at Miami University will be phased out and replaced as a paper concentration for the chemical engineering major. New majors currently must register as chemical engineering majors with a paper science concentration.

Around 50 years ago, the entire engineering program was started at Miami because the paper industry in the Miami Valley created a demand for the paper science and engineering major.

Now, the name is being changed, because students don’t always know what paper science even means.

“People used to value the title ‘paper engineer’ when their parents were paper engineers and the kids were keeping up the legacy, but now the title just confuses people,” said Steven Keller, associate professor in the department.

According to Keller, enrollment for the major is very small, but the demand for the major is huge and increasing. They hope to improve enrollment by deciding to go from having paper science as its own major to having it as a paper concentration for chemical engineering. They are retaining the old courses, just giving it a new name to keep up with the times.  

Keller said they expect recruitment from local paper industry to remain strong for around five years, and recruitment is strong around the country.

During the course of this switch, scholarships will be retained. Currently, the Paper Science and Engineering Foundation provides generous scholarships, currently from $2,640 up to $12,678 per year, for upperclass students that retain a GPA of at least 3.0.

Keller noted the current set up for the major also problematically created an opportunity for double dipping.

“The paper science and engineering major mirrored the chemical engineering with paper concentration major. People would sometimes then graduate with two degrees, chemical and paper, but really only did the work of one major plus eight credit hours. That’s less than a major and a minor but they get two degrees,” said Keller. This switch over should prevent this double dipping.

There are only eight programs left that offer paper engineering majors nationwide.

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