Texas A&M announces initiative to expand engineering department
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 23:01
Texas A&M officials announced an initiative to increase engineering enrollment to 25,000 students by 2025.
The initiative — 25 by 25 — was presented as a controlled growth program to meet a “critical” need for quality engineers in Texas and the U.S., according to A&M officials, who made the announcement from the capitol on Wednesday.
“And universities from other states have set up offices to recruit our top students out of Texas,” A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said. “As a land grant institution, we are taking measures to provide access to a high quality engineering education for more students to keep our nation competitive in the global landscape.”
A&M officials announced 25 by 25 to the Texas Legislature in hopes of gaining the support needed to ensure the success of the program.
The 25 by 25 initiative will allow Texas A&M to secure necessary resources in order to enhance the quality of engineering education at the University. This transformational program is designed to create more accessibility to qualified students in Texas who wish to pursue an engineering education.
The Dwight Look College of Engineering has 1,600 available spots for undergraduates. Last year, 10,000 people applied to fill these spots. In the coming years, the number of applicants is projected to increase by 87,000.
The goal of 25 by 25 is to accommodate more qualified students while improving the quality of an engineering education.
However, with total enrollment already reaching record highs over recent semesters at A&M, some students said the enrollment increase would be a strain on the University, such as an overcrowded campus without adequate resources to match the increase in student population.
“The intentions of 25 by 25 seem great, but I don’t think it is realistic,” said Chase Williams, senior biomedical engineering major.
Williams said campus is already overflowing with students, especially when it comes to engineering classes. He said he did not see how this goal would be possible without an immense expansion of the Texas A&M campus to accommodate the dramatic increase in student population.
University President R. Bowen Loftin said there is already a plan in place to accommodate the increase in total enrollment. Funded by the Permanent University Fund and committed private donors, University officials plan to expand and build up the University campus in accordance with the gradual increase in student enrollment over the next 12 years.
Sharp said Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering, met with the deans of other A&M colleges to discuss the program. Each college will be included in the expansion by providing core degree requirements for engineering students.
“We cannot grow in the way that universities have traditionally grown, by simply spending more,” Banks said. “We are looking at a model that ultimately leverages our existing resources to deliver a high-quality education in a cost effective manner. In addition to increasing our enrollment, we will be transforming engineering education to mold the engineer of the future.”