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

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

The Battalion

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25 by 25 expands to community colleges

Photo by Morgan Engel
Blinn team E

Five community colleges across Texas will soon co-enroll Texas A&M engineering students, as the university finds new ways to meet its lofty goal of 25,000 engineering students by 2025.
The new “Engineering Academies” will co-enroll students at select two-year institutions across Texas. Upon completion of courses taught by A&M faculty, students in these academies would transition to the College Station campus for their final two years. The first cohort of a pilot program at Blinn College came to A&M this year, and five academies across Texas are in the process of starting their first year.  
Greg Morris, vice president of academic affairs with El Centro College, said El Centro College is preparing to accept students into the program which will begin in fall of 2016.
 “We are building right now a fairly solid prospect base, and in January we will be getting the students through the application process — both here at El Centro College but also at A&M,” Morris said. “Then in April — we will collectively — with the A&M engineering school, we will select the candidates we are picking for our inaugural class.”
Teri Reed, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs with the engineering college, said the engineering college hopes to bring in around 1,000 students yearly.  Reed said so far plans are in place to establish a total of five engineering academies at Houston Community College, Blinn-Brenham, El Centro College and Southmost College. The fifth location has yet to be decided.
Kathleen Anzivino, dean of student development at Houston Community College, said students are chosen for the program through a process that involves both the community college and Texas A&M.
“The student applies to HCC like any student, and if they are interested in the academies then they will fill out an application and express interest in the program,” Anzivino said. “We will narrow down everyone who is interested to 300 people and give them the opportunity to apply at A&M. Then the A&M admissions office will narrow those 300 down to 100.”
Anzivno said the program provides a wider range of people the opportunity to be an Aggie engineer. Anzivno said the academies offer another way to earn an engineering degree to people who may have not made it through A&M’s initial application process, or to people who do not have the money to pay full tuition.
Morris said he is excited for the impact the program could have on the Dallas area around El Centro.
“El Centro serves a lot of severely under served areas of Dallas, areas that have high poverty, have low access to quality education,” Morris said. “So this partnership for us is just fantastic. One of the things we are so excited about is it is going to open up an amazing opportunity for some of the students that we serve that otherwise may not have had an opportunity to go this route.”
Reed said the idea for the engineering academies came from a 2013 pilot program at Blinn-Bryan called “Team-E.” One hundred and thirteen students enrolled in Team-E, and today just over 50 percent are now enrolled in the engineering college. Another 26 percent enrolled at A&M in other majors.
Reed said the engineering college hopes to bring in around 1,000 students a year from Team-E and the engineering academies. She said existing programs show that students who come to A&M from other college campuses have a good chance of success.
“We have data on the success of transfer students from each of our partner two-year institution campuses so we know students transferring here historically have been successful,” Reed said.  “In addition, all of these partners are accredited institutions who also have a philosophy of student success.”
Banks said she is very excited about the academies and will be keeping a close eye on them as students begin to transition to College Station.
“[The Engineering Academies] gives students who may not be able to leave home right after graduating from high school the opportunity to join our program,” Banks said. “I’m really excited about it and I think it is a way for us to grow our program without overcrowding and negatively impacting the experience of first year students here on main campus.”

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