Texas A&M University-College Station (TAMU) has formed partnerships with two-year colleges to establish the Texas A&M Engineering Academies. The Texas A&M Engineering Academies is the only engineering transition program of its kind in the United States. Unlike traditional transfer programs or articulation agreements, students admitted to a Texas A&M Engineering Academy are part of the University College of Engineering from their first semester and earn measurable progress towards their bachelor’s degree while completing their associate degree.
The Academies started in 2015 with Blinn College-Brenham. Funding from Chevron enabled expanding the educational opportunity and launching partnerships with Austin Community College, El Centro and Richland College of the Dallas County Community College District, Houston Community College, and Texas Southmost College in Brownsville Texas. The Engineering Academy at Blinn-Brenham offers a residential experience. The Chevron Engineering Academies allow students to begin their Texas A&M engineering degree close to home.
Texas A&M Engineering students admitted to an Academy are co-enrolled, completing core coursework through the community college and TAMU engineering courses taught at the two-year campus by TAMU engineering faculty. After one to two years, the students transition to the TAMU campus to complete their engineering bachelor’s degree. The students can pursue any of the 18 degree- granting majors in the College of Engineering and engage in the same Entry-to-a-Major process as their peers already on the College Station campus. This includes the ability to earn guaranteed acceptance into their preferred major after one year provided they meet coursework and grade point average requirements.
The Academies team includes industry and academic professionals committed to student success and to providing clear pathways for an increasing number of students.
The Academies model leverages the significant role of community colleges in educating the next generation of engineers with diverse experiences and backgrounds. The Academies have three imperatives:
Since the inception in fall 2015, the Academies have sustained growth in external investment and partnerships. New student enrollment increased by over 43% from fall 2015 to fall 2016. Enrollment of underrepresented minority students exceeded 35% each year, and female student enrollment increased from 20% to 23% in the last year. The presenters will 1) describe the motivation for creating the Academies; 2) outline the enrollment process and student success strategies; and 3) share retention data demonstrating the early impacts. Attendees will leave with information they can use to create new partnerships or enhance current agreements “blazing new paths” for aspiring engineers.