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UTSA program builds a new future for San Antonio

UTSA program builds a new future for San Antonio

From left to right, UTSA engineering students Claudia Collier, Sean Tritley, Favour Obuseh and Naomi Alyafei work on their senior design project in the Makerspace at the Science and Engineering Building.


JULY 12, 2021 — Editor’s note: This op-ed by Kimberly Andrews Espy, UTSA’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; JoAnn Browning, dean of the UTSA College of Engineering and Integrated Design; and Chuck Gregory, senior principal and vice president at Terracon Consulting Inc. and former vice chair of the UTSA College of Engineering Advisory Council, originally appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.

Urban planners, architects, engineers, interior designers and constructors shape the world in which we live. They respond to societal needs by working together to incorporate culturally sensitive and sustainable elements into our built environments. This collaborative process, however, is not reflected in the way the nation’s colleges and universities are educating new professionals.

“This mindset must be developed at the beginning of their studies instead of at the initiation of their careers.”

Architecture, urban planning and interior design professionals continue to be educated separately from their peers in the construction and engineering disciplines. This must change.

As an urban serving university in the seventh-largest city in the nation, the University of Texas at San Antonio is a major supplier of the community’s next generation of urban planners, architects, constructors, interior designers and engineers. To succeed, these new professionals must have knowledge of and respect for what their colleagues in related disciplines bring to the table. This mindset must be developed at the beginning of their studies instead of at the initiation of their careers if we want to create a highly functional workforce that will produce the very best environments for our communities.

That’s why we are forming our new UTSA College of Engineering and Integrated Design, or CEID. It will bring together all the disciplines our College of Engineering and our College of Architecture, Construction and Planning administer. By better preparing our students for the modern, integrated workplace, we are ensuring a ready supply of talented individuals who will further drive San Antonio’s economy. Additionally, CEID represents the actions we are taking to prepare our first-generation, Latino and other underrepresented minority students for prosperous futures.

This innovative approach will enable UTSA to fully leverage its scholarly expertise across the architecture, construction, planning and engineering disciplines to optimally position the university on the cutting edge of transdisciplinary research and academic programming.

CEID will serve approximately 4,300 students. It will bring together 117 faculty and 41 staff members who will benefit from collaborative research experiences that further position UTSA as a partner of choice for the city of San Antonio, Bexar County and their business communities.

Our construction science faculty brings unique expertise in project management that is highly valued within engineering environments. Architecture, urban planning and interior design faculty have strong expertise and robust partnerships in sustainable building practices, and cultural and historic preservation. Our engineering faculty are delivering the latest smart and connected technology developments to improve infrastructure systems.

By bringing our faculty and students together within a college and integrated schools, UTSA will be living an integrated design philosophy that will enable students to build successful careers while researchers address society’s grand challenges. This approach will serve as a national model for other colleges and universities.

As we watch our new School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center rise up from the dirt around San Pedro Creek, we realize we are witnessing a unique design-build process to create a showcase facility that will serve UTSA and San Antonio for generations to come. The project is a statement to the seamless collaboration within the planning-design-build community that happens every day.

CEID will emphasize marketable and emerging technical skills for our students, giving employers access to valuable future workers with experience in the integrated architecture-engineer-contractor environment. When students learn and practice the ideals of collaboration and respect prior to entering the workforce, they become the best leaders for their employers — critical thinkers who are prepared to accelerate efficient and creative processes.

⇒ Learn more about the university's Integrated Design Initiative.

The UTSA curriculum already incorporates a deep-rooted culture of respect, inclusion, equity and diversity. We are excited to see CEID’s added impact on the next generation of constructors, engineers, planners, architects and interior designers. Our approach to educating these future leaders will enable them to succeed in their careers and help build innovative communities in Texas and around the world.

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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.