COLLEGE STATION, Tx (KYLE) — Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp today announced plans for Texas A&M University to grow engineering enrollment to 25,000 students by 2025.
The 25 by 25 initiative was developed in response to the critical need to increase the engineering workforce of the state and the nation.
“Last year, more than 10,000 students applied for only 1,600 undergraduate slots available in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M, one of the top ranking public institutions for undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering,” Sharp said. “And universities from other states have set up offices to recruit our top students out of Texas. 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.”
The initiative has three guiding principles:
• Increase accessibility to engineering education at all levels;
• Transform the educational experience to better prepare students to engage in and meet the future needs of the engineering marketplace; and
• Deliver engineering education in a cost-effective and affordable manner.
The Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M is one of the largest and highly-ranked engineering programs in the nation, with more than 11,000 engineering students enrolled. Texas A&M has graduated thousands of engineers who are having an impact on the world by addressing issues of critical importance.
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin underscored the need for making engineering education even more accessible to students.
“The demand for engineering education at Texas A&M has never been higher,” Loftin said. “The Texas Workforce Commission has projected the need for engineers entering the workforce will increase significantly over the next 12 years. Texas A&M is stepping forward to meet this critical need for our state and nation.
M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering, said the 25 by 25 initiative is not just about increasing enrollment, but also about providing better instruction and student opportunities.
“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.”
Curricula will be enhanced through technology-enabled learning, and an extensive Professor of Practice program will be established for industry leaders to return to the classroom.
“Through our innovative educational and recruiting efforts, Texas A&M will lead the way as we become the single largest engineering program in the United States,” Banks said. “At current growth rates, projections show that Texas A&M’s increase in engineering degree production will elevate Texas as second only to California in the number of engineering degrees granted per year.”
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn praised the program.
“In the global competition for the best and brightest minds in math and science, the United States should take a backseat to no one,” Cornyn said. “That is why I support efforts to provide visas to high-skill immigrants with graduate STEM degrees, and I am pleased that Texas A&M University has announced its commitment to increasing the enrollment and graduation rate of students in these fields.”
The 25 by 25 initiative has received strong support from former students, including Mark W. Albers, a 1979 graduate and senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation.
“At ExxonMobil, we recognize from our own involvement in education, that to increase achievement in science, technology, engineering and math, our nation’s schools must challenge students with a strong curricula and we must support teacher training in the subjects they teach,” Albers said. “The 25 by 25 initiative does just that. Aggie engineers will be solving problems all around the world. Not just at companies, in the lab, or in the field, but they will be meeting the world’s most pressing needs.”
S. Shariq Yosufzai, a 1974 graduate and vice president of Chevron said, “As an alumnus of Texas A&M, I am excited by the transformational potential of the 25 by 25 initiative in engineering. Having recently served as chairman of the board of the California Chamber of Commerce, I had the opportunity to observe the impact of investment in the 1950s in California’s higher education system, which resulted in the state becoming the center of technology and innovation of the world. This 25 by 25 initiative could do the same thing for the state of Texas."