UofM’s Herff College of Engineering Growing at Unprecedented Rates

 November 26, 2019 - The University of Memphis Herff College of Engineering is growing at unprecedented rates and is on track to achieve its 10-year strategic goals. In the past five years alone, the college has increased overall enrollment by 30%, and the number of BS degrees in its department has increased by 50%. Meanwhile, overall undergraduate enrollment has increased by 37% and first-time freshman enrollment has increased by 137%.

“The Herff College of Engineering is excited about our continued growth and the increased number of students expressing interest in our programs,” said Dr. Richard Sweigard, dean of Herff College.

In its 10-year strategic plan, spanning from 2013-23, the College of Engineering’s goal is to double the number of BS degrees conferred. The college’s goal includes awarding 235 BS degrees per year by 2023. In addition, the college hopes to double production of master’s degrees to 80 per year and increase doctoral degrees by 150% to 25 per year by 2023.

“While we are thrilled to see this kind of growth and excitement in our college,” Sweigard said. “The more students, faculty and researchers we have, the more we are in need of additional space, specifically for research activities, in order to meet and exceed the needs of the college and the community we serve.”

The University’s master plan, created using 2013 enrollment data, reported that the Herff College of Engineering was at a 31,896-square-foot deficit, the largest deficit for any UofM college. Now, with an enrollment increase of 30%, there is even less space for more students and faculty.

“We are in need of additional space in order to alleviate the space deficit, enhance interdisciplinary interaction, advance student-focused STEM education, increase flow through the STEM pipeline and promote economic advancement for individuals and the region,” said Dr. Thomas Nenon, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at the University of Memphis.

To help achieve its 10-year goals, the college implemented the Herff Merit Scholarship Program to enable the college to recruit high-performing students and reward academic achievement with continued scholarships, up to four years. Further, the college is funding additional graduate fellowships as part of the strategy to reach Carnegie R1 classification for the UofM.

“We are on a positive trajectory to reach our 10-year goals, and in order for us to be able to provide the necessary resources for our students and faculty, additional space is needed,” said Sweigard.

The college is on track to significantly increase research expenditures and encourage needed research vital to the region’s workforce, which means more demand for lab space and more modern equipment than the 1970s-era buildings can provide.

“Conditions have evolved, and increasing the student body is foundational to our success,” Nenon said. “Without expanding the physical footprint of our engineering complex, growth will stagnate.”