- College News
By Rashda Khan
The recently announced partnership between the new University of Houston at Katy and Houston Community College (HCC) to enable Katy-area students to earn engineering degrees right in their neighborhood has the Greater Houston community buzzing with excitement.
The story has been covered both in the Houston Chronicle and Houston Community Impact, and the partnership was the topic of conversation at a recent Katy Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
There is good reason for the excitement about the UH/HCC Engineering Academy scheduled to launch in the fall of 2020.
“The student will have access to a world-class engineering education. The quality of education and research at the UH Cullen College of Engineering contributes to UH’s ranking as a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university,” said J.R. Rao, associate dean for engineering at UH at Katy.
“The curriculum in the Engineering Academy is structured so that students get to take all their engineering classes with the Cullen College faculty at UH at Katy, whereas other core non-engineering courses will be taught by HCC,” he said. “Under this model, the students will have significantly lower costs in the first two years, thus increasing access to UH engineering degrees, and they will also enjoy shorter commutes by attending classes at the conveniently located UH at Katy.”
The 80,000-square-foot UH at Katy building, which is near completion, is at the intersection of Interstate Highway 10 and the Grand Parkway.
How it works
Unlike traditional transfer programs, students admitted into the UH/HCC Engineering Academy are UH Cullen College of Engineering students from day one and are co-enrolled at both partner institutions.
After successfully completing the academy, students will then transition to the UH main campus to complete their bachelor’s degrees in one of five engineering areas offered to UH at Katy students: civil, electrical, computer, industrial or mechanical engineering.
In addition, the college is launching three new undergraduate engineering programs specifically designed for UH at Katy: systems engineering, construction engineering, and computer engineering and analytics.
“These new programs will have their upper division in Katy itself. They start in Katy and finish in Katy,” Rao said. “We’re very excited about that.”
Cullen College engineering solutions
It’s a forward-looking and ambitious plan that addresses the needs of the Katy community as well as the workforce needs of the many companies located along the Energy Corridor.
“Given the demand for engineering talent across the Greater Houston area, the expansion of UH Engineering programs in Katy is both imperative and inevitable,” said Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the UH Cullen College. “The city of Houston needs a homegrown workforce trained to take on the engineering jobs of the future while filling in the skills gaps of today.”
Dean Tedesco shared some insight into the bigger plan at work. “My vision is for the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering to be the global leader of engineering education and research, and our expansion into Katy is a key step in this mission,” he said. “That’s what the city of Houston needs, and we are the only college in the world with the expertise, resources and ingenuity to make it happen.”