Texas A&M University aims to more than double its engineering-school enrollment, announcing plans to accommodate up to 25,000 students by 2025. Officials say its "25 by 25" initiative will help fill current and projected workforce gaps in Texas and in the U.S. and will create a new complex at its College Station campus that consolidates multiple undergraduate engineering facilities to focus on education, rather than research.
"The demand for engineering education at Texas A&M has never been higher," says the university's president, R. Bowen Loftin. It has about 11,000 engineering students on campus, including 8,000 undergraduates and 3,000 graduates. M. Katherine Banks, university vice chancellor and dean of engineering, says that, last year, Texas A&M received more than 10,000 applications for just 1,600 available undergrad slots. "In 2025, we expect to see 87,000 more high school graduates than we do today," 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."
Banks says the curricula will be enhanced through technology-enabled learning and more involvement of industry practitioners. She says the school also is partnering with local community colleges to transition students into its engineering program. One pilot program already has 500 pre-engineering students, set to increase to 2,500 by 2025.
Texas A&M will expand its online master's-degree programs. Further, an existing building on campus will be renovated and expanded to house undergraduate activities. The cost of the project, set to be completed by 2016, was not disclosed.