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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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Task force to study engineering education and workforce demands

The University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell and UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., have announced the creation of the Task Force on Engineering Education for Texas in the 21st Century. The goal of the Task Force is to determine the current state of engineering degree programs in Texas, study current and future demand for engineers, and identify strategies for the Texas Legislature and higher education leaders that will foster student success in the field of engineering while at the same time supporting economic growth across the state.

Texas has led the nation in economic strength over the past several years. Economists forecast that this growth will continue for the foreseeable future with outstanding companies moving to Texas and new companies being started by our citizens on a daily basis. These endeavors will all require a substantial number of engineers from various disciplines.

“The field of engineering is incredibly important, both to our state and to our nation, and enhances the economic vibrancy in Texas,” said Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. “We need to determine if our higher education system has the capacity, including enough faculty, to prepare our engineering students and produce not only enough engineers but the right types of engineers to support the increased workforce demands of Texas.”

Task Force members will review and identify key issues related to demand, capacity, efficiency, supply and research related to engineering programs in Texas, how these issues impact Texas and the nation, as well as what the UT System can do to be responsive to students’ needs and workforce demand.

Task Force members will consider questions such as:

  • What is the current and future demand for undergraduate and graduate engineers over the next 25 years?
  • What is the current engineering education capacity for undergraduate and graduate students at UT institutions and how does that compare with the need?
  • How can Texas engineering schools better collaborate and coordinate their efforts, facilities, faculty and strengths to more efficiently and effectively meet the demand for engineers?
  • How can we prepare and attract K-12 students to engineering programs?

“If we are to remain a key partner in the continuing success of Texas, we have to develop a better understanding of future engineering needs,” Powell said. “In order to plan aggressively to meet those needs, we need the answers to important questions about undergraduate and graduate engineering education, as well as workforce demand.”

Task Force members will include:

Regent Alex Cranberg, UT System, Co-Chair
President David Daniel, UT Dallas, Co-Chair
Mr. Jeffery D. Hildebrand, Hilcorp Energy Company, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Sam Dawson, UT Austin External Engineering Advisory Board
Dr. John Randall, UT Dallas External Engineering Advisory Board
Dean Gregory L. Fenves, UT Austin 
Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet, UT Arlington
Dean Mark W. Spong, UT Dallas
Dean Richard Schoephoerster, UT El Paso
Dean David H. Allen, UT Pan American
Dean C. Mauli Agrawal, UT San Antonio
Dean James Nelson, UT Tyler
Dr. Forrest Flocker,  UT Permian Basin, Undergraduate Chair of Industrial Technology and Engineering
Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., UT System, ex officio
Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Pedro Reyes, UT System, ex officio

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