Two Innovative Fire Protection Engineering Programs Go the Distance


Getting to class through the snowdrifts of the South Pole can be a difficult task, especially when that class is several continents away. But it is nothing out of the ordinary for Sam Dannaway, who participates in University of Maryland’s distance learning program for fire protection engineering.

Dannaway is one of the estimated 16 million Americans, or 14% of all degree seekers, who is enrolled in an online degree program.

Online programs have grown in scope and have been embraced by traditional brick-and-mortar universities. These programs offer a new way for universities to reach students who, because of either work commitment or geographic constraints, cannot attend a traditional classroom program.

For example, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the University of Maryland - College Park (UMCP) both offer a masters degree program in fire protection engineering.

“I believe that continuing education is critical,” says Dannaway. “But I couldn’t get specialized classes where I live. This program allows me to get the degree I’ve always wanted.”

Marci Dudley lives in Indiana, but is enrolled in WPI’s online program, which allows her to participate in group discussions with classmates from as far away as Japan and China.

With almost 25% of WPI’s online participants living outside the United States, Dudley says, “It provides opportunities to interact with people that you wouldn’t have in an ordinary class.”

By most accounts, these online programs are comparable to their traditional counterparts, with the same admission standards, classes, professors and graduation requirements. At both WPI and UMCP, many faculty teach both the online and classroom courses.

A typical class involves either a live feed or a recording of a professor lecturing, with the option to send questions to the professor via email. There are also live Q&A sessions with the professors and message boards where students can communicate and work together on projects.

“Because the demand for fire protection engineers outpaces the supply, it is very difficult for employers to find qualified fire protection engineers,” says Chris Jelenewicz, engineering program manager with Bethesda, Md.-based Society of Fire Protection Engineers. “To meet this demand, education needs to be the cornerstone. These programs allow an entirely new segment of students to enter this rewarding profession.”

Click below for more information on either fire protection engineering program:

University of Maryland Dept. of Fire Protection Engineering

WPI Dept. of Fire Protection Engineering

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Emergency lighting; NFPA 3 and 4; Integrated building systems; Smart lighting, HVAC design
Designing for energy efficiency; Understanding and applying NFPA 101 for mission critical facilities; Integrating commissioning and testing for fire alarm systems; Optimizing unitary pumping solutions
Economics of HVAC systems; NFPA 110-2016; Designing and choosing modular data centers
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me