2017-2023 Academic Strategic Plan for
The Department of Engineering Technology
The mission of the Department of Engineering Technology is to prepare professionals for innovation and leadership careers in the global industrial marketplace, for the purpose of positively contributing to the well-being of the economy of the State of Texas. This mission is fulfilled by:
- Providing student-centered programs which ensure that graduates are accomplished in technical expertise, business practices, industrial management, teaming, communication and leadership skills, lifelong learning, social awareness and ethical responsibility. National accreditation and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities will ensure that applied, experiential learning is exceptional.
- Engaging in applied research and developing partnerships with multiple stakeholders as a means of providing solutions to industrial problems and/or effecting enhancements in pedagogy.
- Providing a premiere graduate program that fosters professional development and applied research skills.
Departmental Vision for the 2017-2023 Strategic Plan
Achieving ABET accreditation for our Engineering Technology major is very important. A committee of faculty began preparations for an eventual ABET application two years ago. In AY 2017-2018 we are conducting an initial round of student learning outcomes assessment. At least two rounds of assessment are necessary before making application to ABET.
It is our intention to prepare a proposal to request dedicated, stand-alone majors in Mechanical ET, Electrical ET, and Civil ET. These new stand-alone ET majors, especially the Civil and the Electrical ET programs will require new faculty hires to staff course offerings. Simultaneously with requesting these new offerings we would phase out the existing general ET major, having five specializations, and also the existing Technology Management undergraduate major.
Our department currently offers a Master of Science in Technology Management having specializations in construction management, manufacturing management, and industrial management. We believe the time has come that we should offer a master’s degree dedicated to the construction management field. Because the existing Technology Management master’s degree includes a construction management specialty, that degree program will have to be modified concurrently with proposing the new master’s in construction management.
Our existing MS degree serves working professionals who hold management positions in industry. Because of the attractiveness of on-line and hybrid offerings to this population we believe that the new master’s in construction management as well as the revised, existing master’s should incorporate some level of on-line and hybrid courses.
Once the construction management specialty is removed from the existing MS in Technology Management degree it would be appropriate to rename that degree. We are considering renaming that degree a MS in Engineering Management. This name change would likely also necessitate some curricular changes. It is our intention to prepare a proposal that would simultaneously create the new master’s in construction management while revising the curriculum of, and renaming, the existing master’s degree.
Enrollment in our Construction Science and Management major has grown so rapidly that it has become difficult to maintain quality, given the size of the faculty. The current student to faculty ratio in this program is approximately 75 to 1. At the same time, however, our Concrete Industry Management major is undersubscribed, having a student to faculty ratio of only 13 to 1. Fortunately, owing to the similar nature of these two programs, CIM faculty can provide cross-coverage for certain CSM courses, making the combined student to faculty ratio of both programs approximately 50 to 1 (i.e., 500 combined students divided by 10 combined faculty). We need to better control enrollment in CSM, while at the same time growing enrollment in CIM. As we grow enrollment in CIM, however, we will lose some measure of cross coverage in CSM. We see the solution to these challenges as a combination of hiring new faculty while also instituting new enrollment controls on the CSM program. On the enrollment management side of things, we intend to establish a cohort system for the Construction Science and Management major whereby pre-construction majors must apply for admission to the CSM major upon successful completion of their pre-construction courses. Some students denied admission to the CSM major may find the CIM program an attractive alternative. While this may help build enrollment in CIM, it may also begin to reduce the availability of CIM faculty for teaching CSM courses. Adding a new, on-line/hybrid masters in construction management combined with the loss of cross-coverage by CIM faculty will eventually necessitate hiring new faculty in CSM.
We need to achieve an appropriate balance of tenure-track and non-tenure-line faculty in the department. With the inception of the proposed new on-line/hybrid master’s degree in construction management, and the revision and renaming of the existing master’s degree, we will need a higher proportion of tenure-track faculty to support these graduate programs and to conduct discipline-relevant research across the many fields in which we have faculty (e.g., construction management, concrete industry management, mechanical, manufacturing, electrical, and civil ET). As our graduate offerings grow, however, we will continue to need lecturers and faculty of practice lines to teach courses in our complimentary undergraduate programs. A major thrust of this academic strategic plan is to anticipate these needs and thereby propose a composition for our faculty that will promote an appropriate balance of tenure-track versus non-tenure-line positions.
Finally, we badly need an adjustment to our annual M & O budget allocation. Our operating expenses continue to grow. In each of the past four years, we have substantially depleted our M & O allocation by about early April. Reserves that we set aside for summer have had to be released for use earlier and earlier each year. It has become obvious that enrollment growth is driving our increased operating costs. We cannot afford to go another five years without a meaningful increase in our operating budget. This will be especially true if the above proposed new programs are approved, and the associated new faculty are added. The combination of continued enrollment growth with increased faculty size will render our present M & O allocation untenable in a very short time.
Top Five Strategic Goals for the 2017-2023 Plan
- Seek ABET accreditation for the existing general Engineering Technology major and maintain ACCE accreditation for the Construction Science and Management major and NSC accreditation for the Concrete Industry Management major.
- Add new undergraduate majors in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Civil Engineering Technology, and Electrical Engineering Technology. Upon approval of these new majors, seek ABET accreditation for same. Add the necessary teaching & research labs, faculty hires, technicians, and graduate instructional assistants to support these new programs. Request a substantial increase in our M & O budget allocation to compensate for enrollment growth that has occurred over the past five-year period and for anticipated growth in the coming planning period. Phase out the existing general Engineering Technology major coincident with adding the above new majors. Phase out the existing Technology Management major coincident with adding the above new majors.
- Develop an on-line/hybrid Master’s Degree in Construction Management that will support graduates of the undergraduate CSM and CIM programs and produce qualified management professionals for the construction and concrete industries. Coincident with adding a master’s in Construction Management, revise the curriculum of the existing MS in Technology Management, removing the current construction management specialization, and renaming the degree a Master of Science in Engineering Management (CIP code 15.1501.00 06). This revised and renamed master’s degree would also have significant on-line and hybrid course offerings. Add the necessary teaching & research labs, faculty hires, technicians, and M & O budget to support these new graduate programs.
- Achieve an improved balance of tenured/tenure-track, and non-tenure-line faculty across all departmental programs. Capitalize on the renovation of the R. F. Mitte building to capture necessary faculty office and research space, as well as selected, new teaching labs. Add the necessary teaching & research labs, technicians, graduate instructional assistants and M & O budget to support the research and instructional needs of all departmental programs.
- Establish an on-going, successful recruitment campaign for the Concrete Industry Management program. Conduct a thorough curriculum review of the Concrete Industry Management program so as to render it more consistent with industry expectations and more parallel to the curricula taught by other universities offering the patented CIM degree. Establish a cohort system for the Construction Science and Management major whereby pre-construction majors must apply for admission to the CSM major upon successful completion of their pre-construction courses. Add specializations in residential construction and commercial construction under the existing Construction Science and Management program. Add a new CSM capstone course unique to the residential construction specialization. Require graduating seniors of the CSM program to take and pass the American Institute of Constructors’ Associate Constructor exam.