Strategic Plan



The missions of the Whitacre College of Engineering are to:

  • Offer quality undergraduate programs that stress the fundamentals of engineering and its practice, as well as prepare graduates for an engineering career, advanced studies, or other professional paths
  • Provide quality graduate programs for students seeking strong research experiences in preparation for a professional, academic, or research career, as well as quality flexible graduate programs for students seeking professional enhancement
  • Pursue basic and applied research to generate new knowledge and create technical solutions to society’s challenges
  • Serve the broader educational and professional engineering community


Excelling as a national leader in engineering education and research


The major stakeholders of the Whitacre College of Engineering at Texas Tech University include the students, faculty, staff, the employers of our students, sponsors of our research, and the state of Texas.


Dedication & Commitment: Faculty, staff, and graduates have an ethic where hard work, industriousness, and persistence are valued.

Honesty & Integrity: The faculty, staff, and students recognize that honesty and integrity are essential in all of our actions, both as individuals and as a collective.

Supportive Community: Faculty, staff, and students in the Whitacre College of Engineering support and care about one another, sharing a sense of community that promotes creativity and effectiveness.

Diversity: It is through supporting and encouraging a diversity of people, a diversity of thought, and a diversity of learning and teaching that will allows our college to become a dynamic intellectual environment.

Teaching & Learning: Faculty members are dedicated to developing the knowledge and capabilities of students and preparing them for a successful career.

Discovery & Research: Faculty members value the research enterprise and share their enthusiasm for discovery and innovation with students.

State of the College

The Whitacre College of Engineering is a tremendous asset to the state of Texas and the nation. We are the nation’s 38th largest undergraduate engineering program, with a total of more than 3,500 enrolled students. Both our undergraduate and graduate engineering programs are ranked in the top 100 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

The college offers a breadth of disciplinary and interdisciplinary degree choices, with ten BS degrees, twelve MS degrees, and eight Ph.D. degrees. We offer programs related to the chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, and petroleum engineering fields, along with computer science and engineering technology. Four distance delivered master's programs (MEng, MS Systems, MS CS, and MS IE), plus a newly approved distance doctoral program, serve practicing professionals’ educational needs.

The Whitacre College of Engineering was established in 1925 when Texas Tech University was founded. We are proud of the highly qualified faculty who are dedicated to quality education of undergraduates, and quality graduate education integrated with outstanding research activities. Among our faculty is our first National Academy of Engineering member, five recipients of the prestigious Horn Professor designation by Texas Tech University, and more than twenty faculty members who are fellows in their professional organizations.

The comprehensive nature of Texas Tech University has fostered collaborative educational, research, and service programs between engineering and biology, chemistry, physics, philosophy, education, atmospheric sciences, architecture, nursing, sociology, mathematics, allied health, medicine, and agriculture.

The Whitacre College of Engineering takes pride in its internationally known research programs in pulsed power and power electronics, wind science and engineering, optoelectronics, declarative languages, polymer materials, and medical imaging. Dynamic and growing research programs in water resources, nanoenergetics, wind energy, biofuels, MEMS, biomechanics, biomolecular engineering, and transportation contribute to a vibrant intellectual environment for our students and faculty.

We have a strong tradition of valuable service to the larger community. The Murdough Center for Professional Ethics, home of the National Institute for Engineering Ethics, promotes ethics through continuing education, “Ethics Cases of the Month,” and Texas Tech curricular programming. The Center for Engineering Outreach has worked with regional teachers, school districts, and students to integrate engineering education into middle and high schools, and is expanding this successful model to the state and national level.

As a college that values excellence along with collegiality, and hard work along with mutual support, we are attracting the best students and faculty from across the nation to join us as we build an exciting future on our strong heritage.

Strategic Goals of the Whitacre College of Engineering

The college has identified six goals that, if achieved, will enable our vision of expanding the college’s national prominence in the next five years.

1. Increase the Number and Diversity of Engineering Baccalaureate Graduates

As the 38th largest enrolled undergraduate Whitacre College of Engineering in the nation, we are a key contributor to providing the technical workforce needs of the State and nation. Our nation needs more engineers, including those that reflect the diversity of our population.

Benchmarks by 2012:
  • Increase undergraduate enrollments by 20% from ~2900 to ~3500 with a 35% increase in number of baccalaureate graduates per year from ~400 to ~550
  • Achieve a six-year graduation rate, excluding transfer students, of 40% or better
  • Increase the percentage enrollments of underrepresented students by 20% to more closely represent West Texas regional demographics
  • Achieve and maintain an 89% or better pass rate on the NCEES FE examination by students taken on campus
  • Rank in the top 75 undergraduate engineering programs as reported in U.S. News & World Report
Strategies Include:
  • Develop an alternative engineering program and supplemental support services for admitted students who are at-risk or inadequately prepared for engineering studies
  • Develop relationships with community colleges to ease the transfer of students into the college
  • Improve retention in engineering by enhancing the freshman year experience of engineering majors
  • Review and revise the advising system so that students get consistent guidance and information
  • Offer curricula attractive to today’s students, including honors classes, bioengineering, engineering science, engineering business, and other flexible interdisciplinary programs
  • Increase the number and amount of undergraduate scholarships
  • Institute a mandatory college FE Review requirement

2. Empower and Reward the Research Endeavor

The Whitacre College of Engineering has a rich heritage of faculty members’ intellect, drive, and synergy creating world-class research initiatives. The college needs to expand how it empowers and rewards faculty engaged in high-quality current and promising research activities.

Benchmarks by 2012:
  • Increase the annual scholarly publication rate in the college as defined by National Research Council (refereed journal publications) by 50%
  • Double the number of college principle investigators with research awards that equal more than $500k per year
  • Increase the number of faculty in the college seeking external grants and contracts as principal investigators, from 50% to 75% of the tenured and tenure-track faculty (FTE)
Strategies Include:
  • Develop a faculty workload policy that allows variable distribution of teaching, research, and service assignments, while ensuring the department can meet its educational, scholarly, and service missions
  • Implement curricular efficiency options to increase faculty time available for research
  • Establish small, rotating endowments based on attracting external funding
  • Encourage Whitacre College of Engineering faculty to seek development leaves that reward and invigorate their research capabilities
  • Advocate and promote to university administration incentives that reward faculty for exceptional research and teaching accomplishments
  • Increase staff available to assist faculty with proposal development, writing, and/or budget development, either in the college or the Vice President for Research Office
  • Encourage and support faculty to interact with funding agency representatives and arrange proposal writing workshops around targeted engineering funding agencies

3. Increase the Amount of Externally Funded Grants and Contracts

Quality research requires significant resources to support the faculty, students, and staff engaged in the research mission, and to provide the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities essential to the enterprise. The level of external funding not only enables our research mission, but is the primary factor in determining our research prominence in the nation.

Benchmarks by 2012:
  • Increase average annual grant awards per tenured and tenure-track faculty (FTE) from $100k to $135k
  • Increase total awards in the college to more than $18 million annually
  • Increase the number of faculty in the college obtaining external grants and contracts as principal or co-principal investigators from 50% to 75% of the tenured and tenure-track faculty (FTE)
Strategies Include:
  • Attract and hire new faculty with high probability for funding success, including the provision of sufficient start up packages
  • Increase the importance of external funding for promotion and tenure, consistent with the new Whitacre College of Engineering P&T operating policy
  • Seek more and utilize instructional funds to distribute some teaching responsibilities from tenured or tenure-track faculty to qualified graduate students and adjunct faculty
  • Encourage and promote faculty to be members of funding agency review panels and federal review panels, as well as take temporary federal appointments via IPA agreements
  • Encourage interdisciplinary collaboration by fostering interactions across college boundaries, and providing seed funds to encourage emerging interdisciplinary research activities

4. Increase the National Recognition of the Whitacre College of Engineering Graduate Programs

Texas Tech’s Whitacre College of Engineering takes pride in a strong synergy between the graduate educational mission and the research mission. The quality and size of our graduate student body relies heavily on the national recognition of the excellence of our graduate programs.

Benchmarks by 2012:
  • Increase the graduate student population in the college by 25% from ~600 to ~750 students
  • Grow the doctoral student population to at least the national average for Carnegie Research Institutions as a proportion of the total student enrollment, from 5% to 10%
  • Increase the quality of graduate students as measured by GRE scores and number of doctoral students with national fellowships
  • Increase the graduate student support in each department (Fellowships/RAs/TAs) to 25% of the incoming cohort
  • Rank in the top 80 graduate engineering programs, as reported in U.S. News & World Report
Strategies Include:
  • Identify and implement key strategies in best practice recruitment of graduate students from leading colleges
  • Evaluate measures employed in ranking graduate programs (specifically U.S. News & World Report) and critically examine ranked schools above Texas Tech to gauge most effective strategies to raise ranking
  • Ensure college/department/faculty websites are up-to-date, informative, and show graduate student success stories
  • Seek donations for graduate student support
  • Identify and recruit top undergraduate students for graduate study through undergraduate research (more REU grant programs), and encourage them to seek federal graduate fellowship support
  • Invite nationally-influential researchers and administrators to participate in a college and departmental seminar series to raise the Texas Tech Whitacre College of Engineering's profile

5. Increase the Diversity of the Students and Faculty in the Whitacre College of Engineering

Engineering is a profession that needs to attract a broader portion of our society. Without the contributions of bright and capable men and women from all cultural and ethnic groups, our society’s pool of engineers will be too small to serve our nation’s important workforce and economic engine needs. In addition, bringing a diversity of thought, perspectives, and creativity from a rich array of people in our college will create an enhanced learning and research environment for all of our students and faculty.

Benchmarks by 2012:
  • Increase the percentage of faculty in under-represented groups to at least the national average for Carnegie Research Institutions at all ranks
  • Increase the enrolled undergraduate student population in under-represented groups by 20%
Strategies Include:
  • Establish a Diversity Committee within the Whitacre College of Engineering to develop and coordinate strategies that will increase diversity in the student and faculty population
  • Develop recruiting materials and methods that target under-represented groups
  • Assure that the pool of candidates for all tenure and tenure-track faculty hires are sufficiently diverse, as well as high quality
  • Work with minority and women student societies to develop a strategy to enhance retention of diverse students
  • Support and/or create interdisciplinary academic programs such as bioengineering, engineering science, and environmental engineering, that are known to attract a higher percentage of students from under-represented groups
  • Form a committee to develop family-friendly policy recommendations and then advocate these to university administration

6. Pursue Targeted Areas of Opportunity for the College

As an engineering college that is increasing its national visibility, we can have the greatest impact by focusing our limited faculty and funding resources in selected niche areas that exploit our current or potential strengths and have a significant impact on the nation.

Benchmarks by 2012:
  • Identify two or more areas of opportunity and obtain greater than $1M in research funds and/or establish academic offerings in those areas
Strategies Include:
  • Hold a series of summits at Texas Tech during the next two years in areas of significant national importance and invite speakers/panelists including politicians, funding agency representatives, National Academy members, technical experts, and others to share their views of research and workforce needs in these areas
  • Identify topical areas for summits through a faculty proposal process coordinated by the Strategic Directions Committee, starting with a summit in the area of energy
  • Elucidate niche areas of opportunity by assessing the synergy that results between national needs and faculty interests
  • Invest in the resulting areas of opportunity through targeted faculty hires, seed funding, faculty development programs, and other means

Texas Tech University Strategic Plan & Assessment Reports