SWTJC clears a path for Uvalde high school freshmen to earn engineering degree in half the time

SWTJC clears a path for Uvalde high school freshmen to earn engineering degree in half the time

A new articulation agreement signed by Southwest Texas Junior College President Dr. Hector Gonzales, Angelo State University Vice President for Student Affairs Javier Flores and Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell on Friday (Nov. 1) in Uvalde has made it easier for students of Uvalde High School to attain an engineering degree.

The 1+1+2 articulation agreement signed is the first of its kind in Texas, which allows a high school student to begin either their civil or mechanical engineering degree in high school.

Traditionally, engineering majors time to completion of a bachelor's degree is much longer than the average college student, on average, six years.

This articulation agreement allows for a student to begin the engineering coursework in high school, which in turn shortens the completion time in half.

According to Dr. Robert Ayala, Arts and Sciences Division Chair, a student may be able to finish in as little as two-and-a-half years out of high school and would drastically reduce the cost to students and their families.

"I am extremely proud of the resolute collaboration that went into this plan," said Ayala. "This innovative articulation agreement with the partnership between ASU and UCISD highlights the true intent of dual credit and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30 plan. Having a clear path to an engineering degree just a few years removed from high school graduation is exciting to offer our community. This agreement would also provide a substantial money-saving opportunity at a time when the cost of a degree in higher education is increasing significantly."

During the signing, Gonzales emphasized the importance of partnerships for SWTJC and the other education organizations in rural areas.

"Partnerships are the key to the survival of education in this area, serving rural Texas is a challenge and would be virtually impossible without partnerships," said Gonzales. "I'm glad SWTJC is able to bring together two partners that really expand opportunities for our students."

Harrell also commented on the importance of this newly signed agreement.

"Our students sometimes they don't get the exposure that other districts get, but this will bring opportunity to our kids in an area that truly needs that exposure to see what exists," said Harrell. "It's a great opportunity for our kids, our community, our parents, and will let them be a role model for their peers and their other family members."

UCISD will soon be holding information sessions for parents of students wanting to take advantage of this initiative.