OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
Governor Receives UW’s Plan for Making College of Engineering a National Leader
The plan released today, outlines a multiyear effort to accomplish the vision of Governor Mead, other Wyoming elected officials and industry partners in creating a “Tier 1” academic and research institution in areas of excellence for Wyoming. The plan involves stepped-up recruitment of outstanding students, curricular innovation, deep industry connections and development of a research enterprise aimed at fueling the state’s economy.
“The UW engineering initiative is one of the most exciting developments in the University’s recent history,” Governor Matt Mead says. “It is ambitious yet achievable through a strong partnership of the University, the State and private industry.”
The UW report calls for significant changes in the way the College of Engineering and Applied Science operates. In addition to new facilities, proposed by the 2012 Wyoming State Legislature, the report recommends adding 25 to 30 new faculty positions, 100 new graduate fellowships, and scholarships for 500 undergraduates to recruit outstanding students.
The University’s plan was created in collaboration with the Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force, which last year released its report for improving the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “I continue to be deeply appreciative of the excellent work of the members of the Task Force,” Governor Mead said.
“We are delighted to deliver this report to the Governor, as it has taken the conversations and efforts of the task force and turned them into a work plan,” says former Governor Dave Freudenthal, who co-chairs the task force, which is composed of industry and state leaders. “We believe it charts the course to build on the excellence that already exists at the University.”
Governor Mead created the task force as part of the Legislature’s 2012 directive for a “Tier 1 academic and research institution” at UW. The Governor and state lawmakers set aside $95 million for UW engineering facilities. This amount and an expected $15 million in private gifts will provide $110 million for what will be the largest construction project in the University’s history. The State Treasurer is holding the money in an account and additional legislative authorization is required before it will be released to UW.
“From the beginning I have said that while facility improvements are essential, this effort should be focused on what happens inside the building,” Governor Mead said. The University’s plan focuses on programmatic changes aimed at propelling the College of Engineering and Applied Science into the top quartile of national rankings for undergraduate and graduate education. Among the goals outlined in the report:
· Aggressively pursue the most talented prospective undergraduate students in Wyoming and the nation in part through a ramped-up scholarship program. The objective is to raise the average ACT score of the top quartile of UW engineering students from 27 to 31, while retaining UW’s accessibility to all qualified students in Wyoming.
· Develop an innovative curriculum that infuses the computational aspects of engineering into every part of the program. UW’s access to the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center and the University’s own Advanced Research Computing Center are assets upon which the engineering initiative will capitalize.
· Boost interaction with private industry through increased internship opportunities, a leadership program for undergraduates, improved tracking of graduates in the workforce, collaborative research projects, and more engagement with alumni.
· Develop niche areas of research that have a major influence on Wyoming’s future, including unconventional reservoirs of oil and gas, advanced coal technologies and energy conversion and delivery, computational science and engineering for fluid dynamics and materials science, water resources, and biological and biomedical engineering.
“A commitment of 25-30 faculty positions, in addition to current resources in the areas, is viewed as sufficient to build the faculty depth needed to ensure lasting excellence while elevating UW to national recognition,” the report says. “Niche areas of research excellence will be further strengthened with an infusion of 100 graduate fellowships aimed at attracting the brightest academic talent from across the world.”
· Further encourage commercialization of UW research through spinout companies, licensing of intellectual property and technology transfer.
· Promote engineering as an exciting and outstanding career in middle schools and junior high schools across Wyoming.
The plan includes metrics UW will use to assess the engineering initiative’s progress, including research awards to faculty and high-quality Ph.D. graduates. Those numbers are highest at schools recognized for outstanding undergraduate and graduate education, such as the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Illinois, Georgia Tech University, Purdue University, the University of Michigan, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, and the University of Washington.
To read the complete report -- “University of Wyoming Engineering Initiative: Toward Tier 1 for Wyoming” -- go to: www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/plans/uw_engineering_initiative_may_13.pdf.