Texas A&M University-Texarkana officials have announced that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has voted to approve the university’s plan to launch a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree in the fall of 2020. Initial funding for the expansion of the engineering program was secured through the funding of A&M-Texarkana’s Better East Texas Initiative (BET) which received $3.6 million from the 86th Texas legislature. The BET initiative identified several specific educational opportunities needed to better serve the people and industry of the East Texas region.
“Texas A&M’s announcement to add mechanical engineering programs at the Texarkana campus demonstrates the forward-thinking that resonates in the soul of this region,” said Rob Sitterley, President & CEO of AR-TX REDI. “Investment in developing engineering talent is not an optional endeavor, but rather the single most important aspect of workforce development today. Communities, like ours, that embrace and foster STEM education and training are the ones that will grow and thrive well into the future.”
“I am thrilled to hear TAMUT will be adding mechanical engineering to the engineering program,” said Ron Collins, President of JCM Industries. “Having this engineering program in Texarkana is very important for our immediate and long-term goals. We’ve been having to send employees out of town to get educated, and as we expand our engineering department this will enable us to grow our own talent right here in Texarkana.”
Pending final approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the university plans on rolling out the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering program in the fall of 2020, to go along with the current degree program in electrical engineering. “Our engineering students currently take foundational courses in engineering during their first two years. This allows them to see which field of study interests them the most and decide between mechanical and electrical engineering before their junior year,” said Gary Stading, Dean of TAMUT’s College of Business, Engineering, and Technology.
The addition of new Computer-Aided Design (CAD) labs announced in November will play an integral role in A&M-Texarkana’s engineering courses. The university received a $250,000 grant from the American Electric Power Foundation to install state-of-the-art CAD workstations, video projection systems, and 3D printers in two phases over the next two years. “The AEP Foundation CAD Labs will provide the technology needed for students to work on design projects and receive course instruction, giving them the skills necessary to thrive in today’s workforce and well into the future,” said Kenneth Irizarry, Lecturer of Engineering.
We are so excited to be moving forward with our mechanical engineering program here at A&M-Texarkana,” said TAMUT President Dr. Emily Cutrer. “We know this program will provide excellent opportunities for our students and prepare them well for the future. Our local industry leaders have been asking for this. The program is needed not only to train employees today but will play a crucial role in helping to bring additional industry into the area.”
About Texas A&M University-Texarkana:
As a member of The Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M University-Texarkana is a comprehensive regional university that provides students with academically challenging, engaging and rewarding educational experiences through quality teaching, scholarship, student support services, co-curricular programming, research, and service.