Island University’s Engineering Program Achieves High National Ranking

By Darrell J. Pehr | Published: September 27, 2019

Island University’s Engineering Program Achieves High National Ranking

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – U.S. News & World Report has ranked Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s engineering program as one of the best of its type in Texas.

Among engineering programs that do not offer a doctorate, the Island University ranked 75th among 210 schools nationally and fourth among 17 similar universities in Texas. Of the 17 schools in Texas, the Island University is the top public institution in the ranking.

Since 1985, U.S. News & World Report has compiled and published rankings of institutions of higher education that have since become the most widely sought after and respected of their kind.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is one of eight Hispanic-Serving Institutions in Texas that were included in the ranking. In that group, the Island University’s engineering program was the second highest of those recognized.

“It was a very pleasant surprise,” said Department of Engineering Chair and Associate Professor Dr. David Bridges. “It was nice to see that we have established a good reputation within that group of universities with similar engineering programs.”

The news comes as the department is in the process of seeking approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to add industrial engineering and civil engineering programs.

Interest in those programs is high, Bridges said.

“There is major demand in Corpus Christi for civil engineering,” Bridges said. “There are many companies in Corpus Christi looking for civil engineers.”

One of the focus areas for a civil engineering program at the Island University would be coastal resiliency, which would concentrate on how structures, roadways, and bridges are designed to withstand hurricanes and other weather events, and how such structures can rebound quickly after such storms. Other focus areas would be hydrology and water resources.

In industrial engineering, one key area would be training students for jobs with the Port of Corpus Christi, especially in logistics. Another would be “innovative aging,” in which students and faculty would study and research ways to predict and detect falls, especially among elderly people.

Garrett Swenson, a senior in mechanical engineering at the Island University, was pleased to hear about the ranking. Swenson said his decision to attend Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was motivated by financial aid offers he received as well as the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence, one of the few Federal Aviation Administration Unmanned Aircraft Systems test sites in the country.

In addition to his interest in UAS operations, Swenson noted the University’s abundance of student leadership and research opportunities.

“Professors are always looking for someone to help with their research projects,” Swenson said. He encouraged students to “see what you enjoy and go after it.”

Highlights during Swenson’s academic career included participating in the Invent for the Planet competition last spring. He was a member of a winning team that designed a special belt for the visually impaired that uses vibration to give directional information to the wearer. Swenson also was the lone engineering participant on a trip to Belize last summer where he worked on a hydrology project.

Swenson said the combination of research opportunities, excellent financial aid opportunities, and the coastal setting make the Island University a great choice for prospective students.

Bridges also noted that the engineering department recently achieved initial accreditation for its electrical engineering program and reaccreditation for the mechanical engineering program.