Dr. Stephan Nix, dean of the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering, has announced he is stepping down after serving his six years in that capacity.
Nix helped the College of Engineering experience an immense level of growth and expansion during that time.
A few of the accomplishments during his tenure as dean were overall enrollment growth, the Rio Grande Valley Engineering Initiative, a new doctoral program in Sustainable Energy, and mentoring future academic leaders.
“I believe I have changed the College from a reactive, inward-looking body to a proactive, outward-looking body. From day one I tried to project the College to the community and the state–and to advocate for the profession of engineering. People need to know about this great college and the opportunities that a career in engineering provides for young people in South Texas.”
The College of Engineering started offering classes for undergraduates in chemical, natural gas, and environmental engineering in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) area this past summer and fall semester. The next five-year projection the department has for the RGV area is to have at least 300 to 400 students, with alternatives from as many as 15 different possible undergraduate and graduate programs.
“The Rio Grande Valley is severely underserved in terms of higher education, including engineering education. There are nearly 1.5 million people in the Valley and nearly as many on the other side of the border. We are trying to provide students who either must or prefer to stay in the Valley more opportunities for a career in engineering. The Valley will drive the future of South Texas. We need a lot more engineers,” Nix said in regard of the importance of the classes being offered in the RGV area.
Nix, who is partially responsible for the revival of the Natural Gas Engineering program says the program is beneficial, not just to our campus, but to South Texas as a whole. “Bringing back the bachelor’s degree in Natural Gas Engineering brought back to life a large part of our legacy…It also helps develop energy resources in South Texas by providing industry with well-trained engineers” said Nix.
As a former dean of engineering, whom the department was named after, Dr. Frank Dotterweich had a great influence on the college and south Texas. When asked about Dotterweich and how he helped to continue his legacy, Nix said: “Dr. Dotterweich’s influence is strongly felt in the College, around Texas, and throughout industry. His statue is a testament to his legacy. I can only hope that over the last several years that legacy was carried forward and perhaps I added a small piece of my own.”
Nix will officially resign as the head of Engineering on August 31, 2016. The university has begun its national search for the next head of the department, following the rule for dean searches.
Given Nix’s passion for teaching,The South Texan asked if he had anything he’d like to say to the campus as a farewell. Nix had only this to say: “TAMUK is a very special place. Keep it that way!”