College of Architecture sets global study, faculty and infrastructure improvements as priorities.
Texas A&M's College of Architecture aims to become the world's best in teaching, research and engagement. This goal extends to natural, built and virtual environments.
We have the people and skills to understand the essential relationships between our world's buildings, communities and societies. We also have the core competencies to connect the past with the future. Combined, these capabilities allow us to implement a vision of what they should be.
The college's strength is collaboration among its departments (architecture, construction science, landscape architecture and urban planning, and visualization) and research centers (Center for Health Systems and Design, Center for Heritage Conservation, Center for Housing and Urban Development, CRS Center for Leadership and Management in the Design and Construction Industry, and Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center). This cohesiveness is especially significant in a professional world that demands teamwork, technological prowess, mutual understanding among disciplines and respect for the contributions of all stakeholders in a global setting.
Within architectural disciplines, ideas about leadership, management and cooperation continue to evolve, so the College of Architecture must attract and educate talented individuals who can distinguish themselves while meeting the challenges of the future.
The College of Architecture must provide a learning experience in a global setting. A unique feature of our college is that each student is required to spend at least one semester away from College Station.
One option is to study abroad in one of our three programs in Italy, Germany and Spain. This experience greatly expands students' professional horizons, preparing them to be active contributors in a global setting.
Or they may decide to gain international experience by participating in exchange programs with other universities around the world, special summer programs, or internships with organizations engaged in international activities. During the past three years, for example, 45 construction science students spent their junior year building the U.S. embassy in Beijing as interns of Zachry Construction Corp.
Programs such as these enable students to observe how different cultures relate to their environment, and how buildings and communities are constructed in places different from the rural Texas areas that so many Aggies call home.
For those who are fortunate enough to spend a semester abroad, the experience is a turning point that enhances their ability to adapt to a lifetime of change and new ideas.
Participation can be a financial burden, however. The international experience costs nearly twice as much as a semester in College Station. That's why private support of scholarships is particularly important. Through Operation Spirit and MindSM, Texas A&M's new scholarship initiative, the College of Architecture hopes its supporters will focus their generosity on endowed scholarships so that no student is precluded from studying abroad for financial reasons alone.
Your gift can literally mean the world to a deserving Aggie.
Aggie architecture students make notes about old structures during coursework in Great Britain. Jorge Vanegas, the College of Architecture's dean, hopes financial aid will enable more students to study abroad.
The college has a solid foundation, and building on it is the key to greater achievements and recognition. We can't make progress through state funding alone. Private support is necessary to ensure higher levels of excellence. The College of Architecture hopes to focus the generosity of former students on three additional investment opportunities:
For example, gifts from three members of the Mitchell family of Fort Worth- Bryan '70, his son Nelson Mitchell '94 and father O. N. Mitchell-created five faculty positions to work collaboratively in revolutionizing teaching in the design and construction of homes and communities. The Mitchell Initiative is a tribute to their long leadership in the home-building industry.
Similar support of faculty positions in special-interest areas such as computer animation and green design and building offer opportunities for individuals or companies to leave a legacy in disciplines that interest them. Gifts like these allow Texas A&M to hire the best people while giving them the tools to develop and share new ideas with each succeeding generation.
The Preston Geren Auditorium and James and Mary Wright Gallery are two examples of spaces made possible by generous former students. Similar opportunities abound to create new facilities to anticipate and accommodate advances in technology and facilitate interdisciplinary approaches to visualization, design and construction.
Often the most valuable gifts are those that provide the college and departments the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities or solve problems. Private gifts were an important part of the college's 2007 Solar Decathlon entry, which brought our students together with 19 other teams from around the world to erect solar-powered homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Endowed discretionary funds provide a permanent source of support for such competitions as well as for scholarship banquets and the host of activities that provide the invaluable "other education" for Texas A&M students.
These three investment opportunities represent a public-private partnership that will enable the college to retain its exceptional education and research leaders as well as attract talent to Texas A&M.
When you invest in the next generation of Aggies, you share in the celebration of their accomplishments. When you support the people and programs that are improving the state and the world, you have a profound impact in shaping a better future for us all along with an opportunity to leave a legacy for generations to come.
By Dr. Jorge Vanegas
Professor and Dean
College of Architecture