The intricacies of the modern automobile are explored and explained in Ferris State University’s Automotive Engineering Technology program. Students in the four-year Bachelor of Science curriculum will have the latest training resources and technical detail incorporated in their learning as the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium has included Ferris as a National Training Center.
AET Professor Patrick English said the designation, confirmed late last year, called for completion of a very thorough application and review.
“We started the process more than a year before we were approved as an affiliate,” English said. “There are billions of dollars being used to develop all manner of future transportation options which we can discuss and observe in our classrooms. Affiliation with the NAFTC means we can offer a unique educational product, and support from The Ferris Foundation, in prior development of our offerings, was a major catalyst in our ultimate success.”
English said AET students already load hydrogen fuel cells as part of their laboratory experience, with the supplies to allow for that instruction funded by a Ferris Foundation grant.
“That kind of support is a total game-changer for my students,” English said. “Hydrogen-fueled operations are a new and significant area of transportation and they will see more time and instruction in our classwork.”
English said Ferris’ labs and classrooms also have access to natural gas-powered vehicles and hands-on instruction with electric vehicles with hybrid or advanced-power plants, presenting a wide scope of applications that have been incorporated into the learning for AET students.
“We want all our students acclimated with hybrids so they are comfortable with high-voltage applications,” English said. “It is our intention to solicit donations of any hybrid vehicles, to improve the level of exposure that our students in the Automotive Service Technology, Associate of Applied Science program receive. Hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles are going to be a growing part of the national vehicle fleet, and if any technology is close to being on the road, we would welcome the opportunity to allow our students the appropriate time and effort to examine it in our classrooms.”
English said what had been offered as a theory-based class to review alternative fuels has been expanded to include the hands-on projects that provide learning opportunities for students.
“Because of the NAFTC designation, Ferris is slated to become a nationally-recognized provider of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle education,” English said. “This is an important moment in a program that has a history of over 60 years at Ferris.”
The NAFTC was founded in 1992, and is headquartered at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. Its mission
is “to educate the nation about alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles
through program management, curriculum development, training implementation and outreach
and education activities leading to the decrease of U.S. dependence on foreign oil
and the improvement of air quality.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Students in Ferris State University's Automotive Engineering Technology program will have the latest training resources and technical detail incorporated in their learning as the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium has included Ferris as a National Training Center.