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Friday, June 2, 2023

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College of Engineering plans to become top 50 contender with strategic program

The Cullen College of Engineering is looking to become a Top-50 engineering school on the U.S. News and World Report rankings by 2020 by implementing a strategic plan that is already in effect.

The CCE is currently ranked 76 by the U.S. News and World Report and is currently initiating a five-goal plan to achieve Top-50 status. Their strategic initiatives include academic programs, research, state-of-the-art new facilities, corporate and institutional partnerships and an increase in fundraising.

The college plans to improve undergraduate programs by implementing “Success Workshops” that will feature peer-to-peer student mentors. The workshops will be part of the existing Program to Achieve Mastery in Engineering Students.

CCE plans to increase research activity across the college and broaden activity among the faculty.

According the strategic plan, CCE’s research expenditures has increased by 90 percent since 2008 – an increase from $13.6 million to $25.8 million, and the college plans to keep increasing that number gradually.

CCE’s strategic plan is extensive and ambitious. There will be many challenges in reaching the goal of becoming a Top-50 engineering school. CCE Dean Joseph Tedesco believes building enough space for a large amount of new students will be the biggest challenge.

“Allocating space will be one of the biggest challenges our college will face as we increase our student enrollment,” Tedesco said. “We will meet this challenge head-on by building new research and classroom facilities and by extending the college’s reach into branch and satellite campuses across the Greater Houston region.” 

In relation to new state-of-the-art facilities, there are other things in the works. The Multidisciplinary Research and Engineering building is set for completion in Fall 2016. This building will house a multitude of research labs, a visualization lab and a spectrometer lab. There are also plans to build new facilities for CCE in Katy and the Woodlands.

These new facilities are not just meant to house new state-of-the-art research facilities, but to accommodate many more CCE enrolled students.

“We have a goal of enrolling 8,000 students by 2025, and we grew a lot this year,” Executive Director of Communications for CCE Audrey Grayson said.

CCE plans to increase and expand industry partnerships, a big part of meeting that goal is increasing industry-sponsored research funding.

According to CCE’s plan, industry-sponsored funding currently makes up 9 percent of external research funding. The college hopes to significantly up that to 30 percent by 2020.

There are other partnerships that the college also wishes to seek out, such as collaborations with  community colleges to embrace smoother transfer enrollments.

“For the Katy campus, we are viewing an enhanced partnership with Houston Community College, for a number of possibilities such as aligning academic programs and co-locating,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Systems Initiatives Richard Phillips said.

According to the CCE plan, the college plans to sustain an annual fundraising goal of $20 million, which includes annual giving, major gifts and corporate and foundation giving. Last year, they not only sustained that goal, but exceeded it by raising $26.9 million.

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