Austin Community College students enrolled in the Texas A&M-Chevron Academy achieve a 95 percent success rate, according to a student success report update presented to the Board of Trustees during its regular meeting Monday, January 13.
The Texas A&M Engineering Academy is a co-enrollment program that allows students to complete the first two years of an A&M Engineering degree at ACC before transitioning to College Station.
“The first year of an engineering student is a critical year. Students face big challenges and adjustments,” says Dr. David Fonken, ACC Science, Engineering & Math dean. “We think this is the safest way to get through that first year because it's an extremely supportive environment. Students get to start their four-year degree here in Austin and take all the uncertainty out transferring. When they're in the academy, they're Texas A&M students already.”
The current cohort began with 75 students. According to the report, the fall 2020 cohort will more than double, with space for 150 to 200 students.
The Academy is working to attract more high school students to the program. Thousands of letters were sent to students and their parents in 2019, according to the report.
“We have a pretty diverse group of students in the Academy, but I think we can do better,” says Fonken. “We took a look at our calculus preparation courses because getting calculus-ready is a challenge for students. In the past, we had a three-course sequence where students take college algebra, trigonometry, and then precalculus. Looking at the data of that outdated curriculum, our Mathematics department implemented a new, ‘flattened’ two-course sequence in fall 2019. We are already seeing changes.”
The Austin Chamber of Commerce expects the demand for engineers to reach more than 4,800 by 2022. The Texas Workforce Commission projects 25 percent growth statewide in engineering jobs over the next ten years.
Currently, there are seven Texas A&M-Chevron Academies throughout Texas, with 500 students enrolled.
Applications are now being accepted for ACC’s academy for fall 2020. Several information sessions are planned for this spring. For more information, visit austincc.edu/tamuacademy.