The UTEP ‘maker culture’ fosters innovation and creativity with the goal to graduate engineers with superior design and make skills, especially ‘design and make thinking’ skills. Fostering a strong commitment to research in the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing.
UTEP’s College of Engineering launched an extensive effort to develop world class ‘maker’ infrastructures. The effort which was sustained by securing external capital funds and internal resources delivered several new learning facilities (http://research.utep.edu/MEIL), including the Lockheed Martin Mechanical Engineering Laboratory and Design and Practice Studios I and II. These are not only state of the art facilities but also highly inspiring spaces for recruiting tomorrow’s engineering students.
UTEP’s mechanical engineering program transitioned into a reorganized undergraduate curriculum to create a 'design and make centric’ learning environment. The change is in part due to the department’s aspiration for graduate engineers with superior ‘design and make thinking’ skills. The curriculum places an emphasis on developing skills to tackle design issues of engineered systems with many interdependent and heterogeneous subsystems. The goal is to train students with core technical abilities to synthesize and optimize design decisions for complex systems and ambiguous and uncertain constraint environments. The reorganized curriculum includes cornerstone and capstone design courses and across the curriculum project experiences to prepare students in conceptualizing, generating, evaluating, prototyping, and testing designs.
Mechanical engineering courses are predominantly project based. Each class is assigned a semester long project where student groups work on various subsystems (mechanical, sensors and instrumentation, control, integration etc.) and then make, integrate, and test them to accomplish the overall project goal. The entire mechanical engineering curriculum is based on “Design, Make, and Test” philosophy.
UTEP’s College of Engineering has K-12 Programs such as the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy made possible by a strong collaboration between UTEP and NASA. http://engineering.utep.edu/announcement061711.htm
The College of Engineering works closely with the El Paso Independent School District and the local industry. Local industry includes local entrepreneurs. The Keck Center works with almost 100 Fortune 500 companies and virtually all major federal agencies including local doctors requiring medical modeling done pro-bono, the maquiladora industry that works across the international border requiring prototyping.
The department has a more than 85.0% increase in the number of BS degrees awarded and a 33% increase in total undergraduate enrollment. More than 85% graduating seniors received job offers prior to graduation.
Frank Medina – doctoral graduate and local El Pasoan – is now working at Oak Ridge National Labs with Arcam the Electron Beam Melting printing company.
One of the College of Engineering technologies is the leading technology to use 3D printing to transform the way in which Printed Circuit Boards are made – now confined to 2D.