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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Clear focus on Excellence’

The+Zachary+Engineering+building+houses+the+No.+13+engineering+program+in+the+nation.
FILE

The Zachary Engineering building houses the No. 13 engineering program in the nation.

According to U.S. News 2022-2023 rankings, Texas A&M was ranked 13th in the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs. Overall, A&M was ranked 67th in the nation and 26th for public universities.

 The A&M Engineering Program is well known for its academic excellence and has transformed over the years to have an abundance of resources for greater student success. 

 Compared to other top schools, A&M has more than just superior educational benefits on their side, they have spirit, lecturer Bret Lockhart, Class of 2008, said.

 “From my standpoint, A&M just does everything well, from new facilities, to resources and even now to a president with an engineering background,” Lockhart said. “There is a clear focus here on excellence, A&M has a tradition of doing things well and engineering has been a very important part of A&M culture.” 

 While the engineering program has been in high regard for some time, the program has grown significantly and now offers more resources, Lockhart said. 

 “Since I was a student here, there has been a college-wide emphasis on student success,” Lockhart said. “When I was a student, common exam averages for Calculus I and II used to be low. Now, the scores are much higher, partly because of the number of resources available to students. Specifically for the math department, resources include: The Math Learning Center that offers weekend reviews and help sessions, office hours, teaching assistants and just a tremendous amount of free, high-quality resources that are available to students. When I was a student here, there were not many resources, many students had to look towards, off campus for tutoring and an extra understanding.”

 The engineering program has come far, but Lockhart said there are still future goals to be met.

 “A&M as a university has tremendous potential to grow, a big contributor to this is that A&M has [space] compared to a university down the road that is landlocked,” Lockhart said. “The ability for new buildings like the RELLIS Center and wide-open spaces to grow. Having space is a tremendous aspect that is seen here at A&M. I would fully expect them to utilize this advantage to heighten their program even higher than where the program is today, that is the A&M way to do things bigger, better, larger and louder.”

 Despite the growth, Lockhart said A&M’s culture has remained the same and is a contributing factor to student selection and success.

 “The students are the biggest part of this program, when you bring in quality students from great diverse backgrounds they contribute character, intelligence and work ethic to make the program succeed,” Lockhart said. “The students come in, and they work hard to make programs like this successful. This resource of having top students will be the leading cause for this program’s future growth.”

 Aerospace engineering senior Nathan Jareczek said he has seen how the inner workings of the program make students competitive in their respective fields.

 “A&M has truly set up its students to not only have great success inside the classroom, but outside as well,” Jareczek said. “We are ranked so high because of the ease of availability to gain a job after college and intern at some of the top companies. I was a co-op in manufacturing engineering at a top aerospace facility this summer and fall; the education I have gotten at A&M is a big contributor to this success.” 

 When looking at how other schools compare to A&M it is easy to see that nothing compares to the culture at A&M, said engineering freshman Quinn Stehling.

 “The atmosphere of A&M is what really drove me to come to College Station,” Stehling said. “I have a family that loves A&M and really boosted up the community of A&M. The resources of the Zachry complex are such a big help. Along with the career fair, A&M is good about helping engineering students find internships and job availability.”  

The students are adapting to this growth due to the many resources available to them, Jareczek said.

“I use the Zachry collaborative learning spaces often because I enjoy being able to go and get a private room with classmates to utilize the whiteboards to work through assignments,” Jareczek said. “The center is really a key aspect for students to have a space to learn and study.”

 This ranking is no surprise to the students at A&M, but Jareczek said larger issues are being foreseen.

 “This ranking does not surprise me at the time, but I think we are trending in the wrong direction,” Jareczek said. “The 25-by-25 mindset of having 25,000 engineering students by 2025 is an unrealistic goal. This can hurt the program because classes are already at max capacity, not enough professors to support the mass number of students. Professors are even retiring from teaching due to this added stress and classroom size. These large classes are causing teachers to fail students in the aspect that they cannot teach each student the way they need to be taught for success, the program is getting ahead of themselves.” 

 Despite future challenges, Jareczek said A&M has some amazing professors who fully commit to student success.

 “More often than not you are getting professors that care about what they’re teaching and want you to learn,” Jareczek said. “For example, my structure lab class this last semester allowed me to get hands on learning by going into our professor’s research lab areas where we had a virtual reality headset that let us build a trust [part of a bridge], allowing me to actively see as I am going if the bridge is going to fail under a certain weight or not. We had 30 seconds to get the maximum weight possible supported by that bridge.”

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