The Southern Association of College and Schools has officially approved a new undergraduate engineering program at St. Mary’s University School of Science, Engineering and Technology, making them the second school of its kind in San Antonio. Until now, the only college in the city that offered a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering was the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Although the school already provides students with accessibility to a variety of engineering degrees — including computer, electrical, software, and industrial, as well as engineering science and management — these programs don’t meet the increasing demand for mechanical engineers in the workforce. Before implementing the new mechanical engineering degree program, St. Mary’s assessed potential employer needs for graduates by consulting with a variety of companies and organizations, including the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, Caterpillar, and CPS Energy among others. Additionally, the decision to incorporate the program into their curriculum was partially based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ prediction that positions available in the workforce for mechanical engineers will likely increase by 9 percent from the year 2010 to 2020. The addition of the new degree program also adheres to the school’s mission of operating and focusing on issues that will “affect humankind for generations.”
Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., and Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology at St. Mary’s said of the new addition in a press release: “This program will allow us to serve the needs of a broad range of constituencies including the energy, biomedical manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, semiconductor and HVAC sectors that are critical to our region and the nation.”
The new mechanical engineering degree program at the School of Science, Engineering and Technology will require an internship and house its engineering disciplines in one department, providing students with the ability to work with faculty on projects for hands-on learning. Additionally, students will be required to complete a senior design project and will receive assistance preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.
This announcement comes on the heels of other positive news for the university. St. Mary’s was recently ranked best in colleges in San Antonio (and 12th in the state) for return on investment by Affordable Colleges Online. Even before the addition of the mechanical engineering program, St. Mary’s was named a 2013-2014 Catholic College of Distinction (which bases its determination of candidates partially on their variety of innovative learning experiences provided to students), becoming one of two schools in the state to be chosen for the title this year.