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SJCC’s New Engineering Program Debuts Classes

2021 has been a big year for San José City College. Coinciding with Centennial celebrations, our campus infrastructure and offerings are expanding like never before.

This year alone, our Ethnic Studies Department introduced five new transfer degrees, our Digital Media Arts Department was born (branching off and growing from our traditional arts programs), and we have plans to break ground on the new Career Education (CE) Complex.

We’re also inaugurating our brand new Engineering Department. With brilliant full-time faculty founding the program and developing a whole suite of engineering classes, it’s an exciting time for the Mathematics and Science Division. Let’s explore our new engineering courses and all the benefits of signing up next semester.

Silicon Valley is a Global Hub for Engineers of Every Kind

According to StartUs Insights, “advancements in material science, biotechnology, industrial robotics & automation, and nanotechnology contribute to the diverse applications of innovative engineering technologies.” And with 374 start-ups based in Silicon Valley, it comes in as the #1 hub for engineering in the world.

The data doesn’t lie. If you’re planning to pursue an engineering career, a bay area community college like SJCC is a great place to start because it’s in the heart of Silicon Valley. Now, here’s how you can start down that path.

“The goal of engineering is to apply math, physics, or other sciences to solve problems that confront human society. Often, engineers think on the cognitive level, but we are humans first. We need to be caring, respectful, loving humans, first.” 

Professor Lu Li, SJCC Engineering Faculty
The Engineering Department at San José City College debuts this year. A flyer for later start engineering classes features a tye dye swirl, gears & gadgets, as well as the schools' logo.
Explore the new Engineering Department at San José City College.

7 New Engineering Classes at San José City College

If you’d like to stay in (or come to!) California to chase your dream career as an engineer in Silicon Valley, you have to start with the fundamentals. Beginnings are important, because they set the tone for the rest of your journey.

Here’s how our engineering classes will set you up for success in the long-term.

All Classes Are Transfer Friendly for General Engineering

Since they are essential for everyone, SJCC’s new Engineering Department is starting out with the essentials, but doing it right (we’ll talk more about this later).

All seven engineering classes will be CID aligned, which means they fulfill transfer requirements for all types of engineering degrees at public universities in California. That means, anyone who wants to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering at a UC or a CSU can start here at SJCC.

Now let’s explore our new engineering courses.

3 Engineering Classes Already Launched

Here are the debut engineering courses offered starting Fall 2021.

  • ENGR 003 — Introduction to Engineering
  • ENGR 032 — Statics
  • ENGR 033 — Circuit Analysis

But there’s still more!

4 More Engineering Classes Coming Soon

Here are the additional courses that are expected to be launched soon (the majority in 2022).

  • ENGR 006 — Engineering Graphics
  • ENGR 008 — Programing and Problem-Solving in MATLAB
  • ENGR 038 — Materials Science and Engineering
  • ENGR 038L — Materials Science and Engineering Lab

So if you want to be an engineer in California, you can’t go wrong with these courses. And soon enough, they will form part of our extensive engineering programs that offer two year degrees and pathways to successful engineering careers.

But perhaps the best thing about these courses is that they go beyond just the basics. Our brilliant faculty is committed to addressing systemic failures of traditional engineering education so that SJCC students are sure to succeed. This is what truly sets SJCC apart.

Check out the new engineering classes at San José City College. The four students in this photo stand in front of a white board displaying complex calculations in red marker.

“I love doing engineering education the right way. I understand systemic inequities in Engineering. I know certain things need to be changed.” 

Professor Lu Li

Brilliant New Engineering Faculty and Philosophies

Professor Lu Li is the first full-time faculty member in SJCC’s Engineering Department. She is a graduate of Tsinghua University in Beijing, which is ranked as the #1 university for engineering in the world, according to the U.S. News & World Report

Li specialized in Electro-Optical Precision Instruments (which in the states would be called Electro-Mechanical Engineering). Then, she continued her education at UC Berkeley with a full-ride scholarship, studying Mechanical Engineering (Controls).

What stands out most about Li’s already impressive background is her teaching philosophy and her commitment to equity. Li plans to employ innovative teaching methodologies to a discipline that is in dire need of reform.

Addressing Bias and Toxicity in the Engineering Culture

If you’re already living in Silicon Valley (or you’ve just seen the popular TV show), you know that there’s a dark side to tech, and engineers certainly play a role there. 

According to the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), bias in the engineering workplace is still a huge problem. Women and people of color face even greater barriers to engineering careers, which causes their presence in STEM to be tragically low (even lower than in other fields). 

SJCC’s faculty are aware of this and deeply committed to addressing these challenges as early as possible. Li hopes to bring empathy as well as an emphasis on communication skills into her teaching style and curriculum.

“I love doing engineering education the right way. I understand systemic inequities in Engineering. I know certain things need to be changed,” Li said in an interview. “There are so many barriers for women and minorities… to change that, it starts with education.”

Li collaborates with the Ganas Project, (an HSI Initiative working to support Latinx education in STEM, teaching, and public health) as the Engineering HSI Pathways Coordinator. She’s also committed to a human centered approach in the classroom and beyond.

Check out the engineering classes at San José City College. In this image you can see a young woman, likely an engineer, sitting at her laptop. She is working in a lab full of brightly colored wires, speakers and equipment. The space is well-lit. Behind her are glass walls and metal frames.

A Human Centered Approach to Engineering

Creating clear pathways for women and minorities in STEM is essential, but even with these pathways, underrepresented groups won’t last long in the field if they’re faced with a harmful and perhaps hostile environment upon arrival. 

Reform needs to come at many angles. To prevent and mitigate toxic engineering culture and increase retention of BIPOC and women engineers, there needs to be a more human approach when it comes to education.

“The goal of engineering is to apply math, physics, or other sciences to solve problems that confront human society. Often, engineers think on the cognitive level,” Li said. “but we are humans first. We need to be caring, respectful, loving humans, first.”

To put this philosophy into action, Li has also worked with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Li knows the importance of resilience in the sciences and she is incorporating communication and social-emotional learning into her engineering curriculum at SJCC.

Some of the new engineering classes will cover things like stress management, networking, and even conversation meters. “I am incorporating a lot of wonderful pioneering curricula into our engineering classes,” said Li.

Choose a Bright Beginning with SJCC Engineering

So if you want to start off on the right foot, and enjoy the benefits of a holistic education from highly qualified faculty, check out the Engineering Program at San José City College. Introductory engineering classes will be offered every semester!

You can also check out some of our transfer degree programs in the STEM field. We offer two year degrees in Mathematics, Chemistry, Public Health, and Biology. Learn more about the important work of the Ganas Project too!