Conexion/ Staff Report

 

SAN ANGELO-- Angelo State University has been awarded a five-year, $2.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) to support the implementation of ASU’s proposed new mechanical engineering program.  

The grant has been awarded under the DoE’s Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions program for a project titled “Culturally Responsive Education En Mechanical Engineering,” or CREEME. It is designed to ensure that Hispanic, first-generation and low-income students receive a more culturally sustaining education at ASU through the adoption of innovative teaching practices, re-imagining of engineering pedagogies and defining how ASU works with community colleges. CREEME will include the following three components:  

Nuevo Programa (New Program): Developing a mechanical engineering program at ASU

Desarrollo Profesional (Professional Development): Re-envisioning the curriculum through the development of culturally responsive teaching practices

Vinculos Académicos (Academic Links): Developing and improving community college pathways to ensure a smoother transfer experience  

Initial objectives for CREEME are to increase both Hispanic and overall enrollment in the mechanical engineering program, establish a significant student retention rate for the program, and increase the number of community college transfer students by 2022.

The curriculum for the proposed new Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.) degree in ASU’s David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering will be submitted for approval by the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents in October. Securing funding for the program and approval of the curriculum are key elements that must be achieved before the program is submitted for final approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges.   

“Receiving this grant for our proposed new mechanical engineering program is definitely a step in the right direction,” said ASU President Brian J. May. “Now, we can focus on finalizing the curriculum and then gaining final approval for the program so we can move forward with what will be another exciting addition to our David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering.”  

Pending final approval, implementation of the new program is scheduled to begin in fall 2018.  

ASU followed a similar formula for implementing its civil engineering program in 2014 when it applied for and was awarded a $2.87 million DoE/HSI grant for the cooperative project between ASU and Southwest Texas Junior College titled “Strengthening the Engineering Pipeline in West Texas” (STEP West Texas). 

Since the first civil engineering students were admitted in the fall of 2015, the program has grown to include more than 130 students and seven full-time faculty. The Hunter Strain Engineering Labs facility, which was funded by a $4.5 million anonymous gift, opened on Aug. 1.