Island University Receives Global Rankings for Environmental Science, Theatre Arts, Engineering Programs

By Darrell J. Pehr, Richard Guerrero | Published: March 10, 2021

Island University Receives Global Rankings for Environmental Science, Theatre Arts, Engineering Programs
Among three rankings, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi was named seventh-best among Texas universities offering environmental science programs.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi received three Global Rankings from Plexuss, based in Walnut Creek, California.

The university was ranked seventh best in Texas among universities offering environmental science programs, eighth best in Texas for its theatre arts programs, and number 14 among Texas universities that offer engineering programs.

The rankings are based on student demand and preferences. The rankings and methodology incorporate extensive input from education partners, data scientists, employers, parents, and high school counselors.

“As students and parents become savvier about college selection, we believe the Plexuss Global Rankings are a powerful tool for students to evaluate all their postsecondary options,” the company said in an announcement.

Two of the recognized programs are in the College of Science and Engineering.

“Positive feedback from students, employers, and the academic community is significant and critical,” COSE Dean Frank Pezold said. “The strength of our environmental programs has been known for some time and it is great to see that our new engineering programs are tracking in the same right direction!”

The Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at A&M-Corpus Christi, one of 39 environmental science programs in Texas, is an interdisciplinary department that offers undergraduate degrees in atmospheric science, chemistry, environmental science, geology, and physics (a multi-university joint degree as a member of the Texas Physics Consortium). Master’s degrees are offered in chemistry, Coastal and Marine System Science, and environmental science. A Ph.D. is offered in Coastal and Marine System Science. 

The engineering program, one of 144 offered at Texas universities, is growing to meet the needs of the Coastal Bend and beyond. Beginning in the fall of 2020, the Department of Engineering added civil and industrial engineering programs to its degree programs.

A&M-Corpus Christi offers bachelor’s degrees in civil, electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering. Also offered are a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, a minor in MET, and a certificate in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Applications.

Current Island University students agree with the rankings.

“From presenting at international, world-renowned conferences, to working in the field with state-of-the-art tools on potentially life-changing developments, to publishing one’s own research in national journals, the opportunities afforded TAMU-CC Science and Engineering students are unparalleled,” graduate student Chris Vickers said. “I returned to TAMU-CC to obtain my master’s degree in large part due to work I did as an undergrad with Dr. Val Murgulet and Dr. Dorina Murgulet. At TAMU-CC, faculty truly care about the success of every one of their students, and prioritize their individual growth and development.”

Vickers earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and is pursuing graduate studies in the Coastal and Marine System Science program.

Graduate students Daniela Bergmann and Jessie Matarrita Rodriguez cited the ability to use complex analytical equipment in labs and to participate in high-level, interdisciplinary research as reasons they were attracted to the university. Bergmann is pursuing a graduate degree in chemistry. Matarrita Rodriguez, a Fulbright Scholar from Costa Rica, is working on a master’s in environmental science.

When it comes to performance, the Department of Theatre and Dance at the Island University has definitely earned its standing ovation for 100 percent employment among its theatre education alumni circa 2017-2019, its ambitious schedule of productions and performances despite a global health crisis in 2020-2021, and its record of student achievement, including four winners at the 2020 Region 6 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

As part of the School of Arts, Media & Communication, the Department of Theatre and Dance offers a bachelor’s in theatre arts with focus areas in acting/director and design/tech. Theatre majors may also pursue a bachelor’s in theatre arts leading to teacher certification. As of fall 2017, the department offers a dance minor and a dance certificate available to all majors in all disciplines and professionals or educators seeking a certificate to develop their skill and knowledge in the area of dance.

Department Chair Alison Frost said the department is thrilled with a Plexuss ranking of 8th out of 150 Texas universities and colleges offering theatre arts programs. 

“Our faculty work hard to provide educational opportunities for our students so they may graduate and enter the workforce well-prepared to find employment as artists, teachers, and creative human beings,” Frost said. “In our hearts, however, our students are No. 1.”