Texas is projected to have approximately nine percent of the nation’s future STEM opportunities, the second highest in the country. At the same time the state’s rapidly changing demographic mix will pose challenges as Texas’s growing, economically disadvantaged, minority students have less than a ten percent postsecondary completion rate. Therefore, the urgency to identify policy and programmatic strategies to meet this need is critical.
The Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator (STEM Accelerator) initiative is focused on supporting regional teams of education and workforce partners to increase the number of students who will earn a STEM credential.
In El Paso, the program will focus on STEM Pathway Engineering. Why Engineering? Texas ranks 6th in the nation for engineering employment opportunities. With a student population that is 80 percent Hispanic, engineering graduates from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) add important and necessary diversity to the workforce in Texas metro areas such as Dallas and Houston.
REGIONAL TEAM MEMBERS - EL PASO
STEM PATHWAY PLAN AND INTERVENTIONS
The goal of this project is to increase female enrollment and graduation in engineering and to train more female engineering faculty. To accomplish this, more engaging classrooms and inclusive partnerships are necessary. The four major activities include:
- Curricular innovation: A set of four courses will provide students with experiences that continuously build interest and curiosity, provide context and meaning, and build confidence in their ability to successfully tackle challenging engineering problems, which is especially effective in retaining women students.
- Communities for Student Success: By combining a holistic advising system and pre-professional experiences with industry partners, a "sense of identity as an engineer" will be instilled in students.
- Strategic Outreach: To increase the number of students enrolling and succeeding in Engineering, the regional team will focus on recruitment, retention, parental outreach, and K-12 partnerships.
- Stackable Credentials: All Engineering Bachelor's degrees are articulated to an Associate's degree. Students have multiple clear pathways to earn degrees, including reverse transfer and co-enrollment at both El Paso Community College and UTEP.
This project is anticipated to accomplish the following outcomes:
- Train 60 college faculty and four high school teachers
- Serve more than 1,400 college students and 400 high school students
- Produce 200 Associate and 1,100 Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees
The Texas Regional STEM Degree is developed in alignment with priorities for education and workforce outlined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission. This initiative is funded through the generosity of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation, CREEED, Greater Texas Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and The Kresge Foundation.