Board approves manufacturing engineering degree for SWT

Date of release: 04/21/00

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — A new degree program that will help provide leaders for the Central Texas region’s booming high-tech industry has been approved for Southwest Texas State University.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, meeting Thursday and Friday in Austin, approved a degree program for SWT that will lead to a bachelor of science degree with a major in manufacturing engineering. Classes will begin in Fall 2000.

Manufacturing engineering is a specialty that applies engineering procedures to the production of industrial commodities and products. Manufacturing engineers are trained to evaluate product designs for manufacture, process design, tool design, automation and systems integration.

The program will be housed in the Department of Technology in the SWT College of Science.

“This program opens a new dimension of academic opportunity for students at SWT,” said Technology Department Chair Robert Habingreither. “For the first time in our history, applicants will have the opportunity to pursue a formally recognized engineering degree on our campus.”

University officials say the new program will meet a growing demand in the region. Inadequate skill development has been cited as one of the leading challenges facing the Texas high-tech industry.

“It’s no secret that the greatest limitation to industrial expansion is the lack of availability of technically qualified workers at all levels. Our new degree will help to resolve this problem in many ways,” said Habingreither.

The SWT degree program will have two tracks: the general manufacturing track and the high technology/semiconductor manufacturing track. The latter is closely tied to industrial expansion activities in the Central Texas region.

The new program is the second of its type in the state. The other is housed at the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg.