Texas A&M University is one of the select few institutions in the nation with land-, sea- and space-grant designations. That means that from inland plains to coastal edges, deep under the sea and into outer space, Aggies commit their minds, time and resources to explore, understand and improve our small corner of the universe.
And while Aggies maintain this universal view, they haven’t forgotten that 137 years ago, on Oct. 4, 1876, the state of Texas contributed to the federal government’s land-grant mission by opening the doors of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas – what is today Texas A&M, the state’s first public institution of higher learning.
Since then, Texans by the hundreds of thousands have joined students from all over the world in becoming Aggies and in return, the university’s continued devotion to serving its home state has unfolded in myriad ways.
Word of the quality of education at Texas A&M is spreading as officials report a record enrollment of 58,809 total for fall 2013, making it the largest university in Texas and one of the largest in the nation.
The wide variety of degree programs to choose from at Texas A&M makes it one of the most diverse institutions in the state by fields of study. Whether it’s creating veterinarians or climatologists, engineers and technology experts, artists and architects, public servants or business owners, the university is working to fulfill workforce needs.
Addressing the state and nationwide shortage of math and science teachers is a high priority at Texas A&M, where educators and researchers are focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and it shows: Texas A&M graduates more math and science teachers than any other university in the state. Efforts include innovative degree programs for aspiring teachers, as well as outreach programs designed to stimulate early student interest in STEM subjects.
This year, the university expanded even further by acquiring what is now the Texas A&M University School of Law, located in Fort Worth, and by bringing the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) under university administration, opening new paths to careers in law and medicine for Aggies and increasing the impact of Texas in these vital fields.
The TAMHSC, for example, is addressing the statewide shortage of nurses with a new Master of Science in Nursing degree program in nursing education, announced just this summer. “Producing qualified nurse educators to fill necessary faculty positions is key to answering the demand for more nurses in the workforce,” says Texas A&M College of Nursing Dean Sharon A. Wilkerson.
And no matter what the field of study, higher education can be expensive and Texas A&M has been recognized for providing a top-tier education at an affordable cost. U.S. News & World Report this year ranked Texas A&M second in the nation among public universities in its “Great Schools, Great Prices” category.
Explore – learn – understand – find solutions: these are the goals of research and Texas A&M is the state’s largest research institution with annual expenditures topping $780 million. Texas A&M is one of only three Tier 1 universities in Texas and has been recognized as a research-intensive university by its acceptance into the prestigious Association of American Universities; only 62 institutions in the nation hold this distinction.
Much of the research at Texas A&M is focused on state issues. Whether it’s drought or Gulf Coast hurricane mitigation, best practices for food production and animal husbandry, or public policy and education for a changing state population, Texas A&M researchers are continuing to break new ground when it comes to caring for Texas.
And it was from the Lone Star state that some of the most famous NASA missions were launched; Texas A&M carries on that tradition with research that aspires to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Aggies in Aerospace Engineering are designing beyond-real technologies in robotics, aerospace sciences, propulsion and more. Texas A&M researchers are involved in exciting space-related projects such as the Mars rover missions, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the search for dark matter.
Last year, the university further expanded its research mission after a $286 million award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other partners allowed for the creation of the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM). There researchers develop and manufacture vaccines to protect the state and nation against emerging infectious diseases, including pandemic influenza, as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
Societal issues such as immigration and education are widely studied by Texas A&M researchers, especially as they relate to Texas. As the Hispanic population in Texas is reaching unprecedented numbers, researchers are working to ensure equal footing in education for all Texas children. In 2011-2012, more than 809,000 of the state’s students were served in English language learner programs and those numbers will continue to grow.
“High-quality research and training activities are essential to ensure success in school for English language learners,” says Douglas Palmer, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M, where just this year, the Center for Research and Development in Dual Language and Literacy Acquisition (CRDLLA) was approved. “The CRDLLA will focus on professional development and research activities to help address some of the most urgent state and national educational needs and challenges,” Palmer notes.
Among their many efforts, CRDLLA researchers will observe bilingual classroom teaching methods and provide feedback to teachers that will be critical in improving the educational outcomes of millions of Texas schoolchildren in the future.
Service and Outreach
This year, Texas A&M was recognized by Washington Monthly as one of the top three universities in the nation, and first in the state, in a poll which puts emphasis on service to the nation, including factors such as improving social mobility, producing research and promoting public service.
Aggies show their devotion to service through efforts big and small, and the state of Texas continues to benefit, whether it’s the replanting of thousands of pine seedlings after wildfires destroyed the forests of Bastrop or mobilizing to help the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Aggies are showing up for duty.
Outreach adds another facet to the university’s service mission and takes many forms around the community and beyond. For example, the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital of Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) offers clinical services to client animals brought in for diagnosis and treatment. The hospital serves animals from more than half of the state’s 254 counties. Texas A&M has the only veterinary medical college in Texas and it consistently ranks in the top 10 in numerous national polls.
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, many animals were abandoned and suffering. As a result, a CVM faculty team, with cooperation from Brazos County emergency response staff, formed the Veterinary Emergency Team, which now provides emergency veterinary response in disaster situations, able to deploy as a self-sustaining unit.
As Texas A&M continues to expand its global reach, Aggies know their roots are in Texas and will continue serving the state through innovative education programs, a thriving culture of research and development, and a nationally-recognized devotion to service.
About 12 Impacts of the 12th Man: 12 Impacts of the 12th Man is an ongoing series throughout the year highlighting the significant contributions of Texas A&M University students, faculty, staff and former students on their community, state, nation and world. To learn more about the series and see additional impacts, visit http://impacts.tamu.edu.
Media contact: Lesley Henton, Division of Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M University; 979-845-5591, firstname.lastname@example.org