National recognition helps bring more engineering students to the Panhandle

National recognition helps bring more engineering students to the Panhandle

CANYON, TX - West Texas A&M University now has a nationally accredited Civil Engineering program.

This designation comes after five years of work put in by students, professors and faculty.

Associate Dean of the School of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics Dr. Matt Jackson said this will help future students get jobs.

He said it's becoming essential that students graduate from an accredited engineering program in order to be hired.

Local companies like to hire local engineers.

Professor Robert DeOtte led the department through the accreditation process.

He said it's hard to get people from other parts of the country to come work in Amarillo.

Climate, culture, and even a lack of trees are factors that often deter non-locals from coming to the Panhandle.

Jackson said the main reason engineering was brought to WTAMU was to train local students to become engineers.

The hope is they stay in the Panhandle, and take jobs with local engineering companies.

He said these employers call the school every year asking for engineers to come work for them.

The demand is higher than the number of graduates available.

DeOtte said this recognition should attract more people to the university's engineering department.

School officials have already begun planning for new labs and more faculty to make the program bigger.

Civil engineering is the second program of that department to be accredited, preceded by mechanical engineering.

Jackson said they plan to apply for accreditation for more of their programs.