The University of Texas at San Antonio today announced the formal launch of the College of Engineering and Integrated Design (CEID), effective September 1, 2021. The announcement follows recommendation from UTSA’s Integrated Design Initiative Task Force, deep and broad consultation with internal and external stakeholders, and approval by The University of Texas System on behalf of its Board of Regents.
The new college combines the academic departments and programs now under the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning. It will be administratively organized into two schools — Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Construction Management; and Architecture & Planning — and three departments — Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; and Electrical and Computer Engineering.
CEID will be home to approximately 4,300 students, 117 faculty members and 41 staff members.
“San Antonio is home to some of the world’s best architecture, engineering and construction firms, large and small. As a top HSI research university, UTSA is committed to serving our city and state preparing our students to succeed in the modern workforce,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “By intentionally bringing students and faculty in these complimentary disciplines together in the learning environment, the College of Engineering and Integrated Design will ensure our students are well-prepared not just for their first job, but for their bold future in these professions.”
The establishment of the new college comes after more than a year’s discussion and deliberation by UTSA’s Integrated Design Initiative Taskforce. Launched in April 2020, the initiative sought to fully leverage UTSA’s expertise across architecture, construction, planning, historic preservation, interior design and engineering, and optimally position the university on the cutting edge of transdisciplinary research, academic programming, and workforce preparation for students. CEID Dean JoAnn Browning led the initiative taskforce, which included academic leaders from both existing colleges and key partner departments across campus. The taskforce also held several forums to solicit ideas from internal and external partners.
“The formation of the College of Engineering and Integrated Design serves a tremendous strategic purpose,” Browning remarked. “Choosing to house these complementary disciplines in one college allows greater opportunity for collaborative research and experiential learning. Our students will have more frequent opportunities to experience a modern, integrated and collaborative workforce that will equip them with the marketable skills needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive employment market.”
Faculty and students the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning previously have collaborated on several cross-disciplinary projects. Under the new college structure, students in the fields of engineering, architecture, construction science, urban planning, interior design and historic preservation will have more opportunities to work together, preparing them for the reality of working in their desired fields.
The formation of CEID also improves UTSA’s positioning as a competitive recruiter of faculty and postdoctoral researchers, which will lead to increased investment from outside sources. “This merger improves our ability to compete for extramural and large-scale grants that require interdisciplinary teams to address societal grand challenges,” said Krystel Castillo, GreenStar Endowed Associate Professor in Energy in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute. “Our centers and institutes can work together to create a potent platform for upcoming research funding opportunities.”
An explicit commitment to experiential, hands-on learning is a cornerstone of CEID. In future years, all students will be required to complete either an internship, a research project, a study abroad experience or a service-learning initiative while pursuing their degree. In doing so, Roadrunners will develop new skills, sharpen existing ones and positively impact the world around them.
“The new college structure is an exciting first step towards expanding the intellectual, administrative, and physical resources for our programs,” said Ian Caine, associate professor and director of the Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research. “CEID is positioned to become a powerful engine for transdisciplinary research and teaching, allowing faculty and students to explore the complex problems that occur where physical and social systems intersect.”