The following is from the June 29, 2008, edition of The Dallas Morning News. SMU Engineering Dean Geoffrey Orsak provided expertise for this story.
By ROBERT MILLER
The Dallas Morning News
We've seen plenty of stories about how many engineers China and India turn out each year.
But a look at the three main engineering schools in the Dallas area – the University of Texas at Arlington, Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Dallas – shows that all three are working to meet the demand by adding state-of-the-art facilities and programs.
A vast pool of potential engineers goes untapped because students are ill-prepared to major in engineering when they enter college.
To change that, SMU has adopted an outreach program called the Infinity Project, which is currently in more than 300 high schools, middle schools and even colleges across 37 states.
The program tries to generate excitement about math and science courses, the obvious requisite for a career in engineering.
SMU is also not satisfied with its engineering class makeup of only 35 percent women. The goal of its Women in Science and Engineering program is 50 percent.
From the 2000-01 academic year through 2006-07, SMU increased its total number of engineering graduates from 292 to 518, and almost 80 percent of those graduates earned master's degrees.
"At SMU, we have dramatically expanded our commitment over the last decade to leadership in innovative engineering research and education," said engineering dean Geoffrey Orsak.
"The focus is vitally important to our community and nation.
"It's good to see that bellwether institutions like Harvard and Yale are confirming what we've known for quite some time – engineering is an expressly important initiative for high education."
He was referring to the recent news that Harvard and Yale are expanding their engineering faculty and programs.
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