Texas A&M University has new plans in place to expand its engineering enrollment up to 25,000 students by 2025. This ’25 by 25’ initiative was driven largely by the need for more engineers across the United States, including Texas.
“The demand for engineering education at Texas A&M has never been higher,” says Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin. “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.
Interest is there as well, says M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering at A&M, as last year alone, A&M received more than 10,000 applications for just 1,600 undergrad spots at A&M’s Dwight Look College Engineering.
“When you think about those numbers, and the fact that the high school graduation rate for Texas is increasing – in fact, in 2025, we expect to see 87,000 more high school graduates than we do today – the number of applications we’ll be receiving will be increasing, not decreasing,” she adds.
A&M currently has about 11,000 engineering students on campus, including 8,000 undergraduates and 3,000 graduates, along with approximately 375 faculty members.
The ’25 by 25’ initiative has three guiding principles, which are to 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.
“We cannot grow in the way that universities have traditionally grown, by simply spending more,” Banks says. “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, according to Banks.
To further help encourage growth, A&M is also partnering with local community colleges to help transition students into the university’s engineering program. One of the pilot programs at Blinn College already has 500 pre-engineering students, and that number will increase to 2,500 by 2025.
Banks notes that A&M is planning outreach programs with P-12 students in order to help encourage students to really look at engineering careers as they move toward the university level.