Engineering at the University of Miami: A community powered by excellence

Established in 1925, the University of Miami –known as the “U” – delivers a world-class education to the South Florida region and beyond. The university, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), consistently ranks in the Top 300 universities worldwide (2018 QS World Rankings). Nationally, the institution ranks 46th according to U.S. News and World Report, also placing 56th in the best value college list.

Across 11 specialized colleges and schools, UM hosts a total 5,300 graduate students from more than 125 countries. Known to promote diversity both culturally and geographically, UM’s graduate options provide a place of research and, in turn, a world of opportunities — enhancing your global perspective and enriching your career.

UM’s College of Engineering (CoE) has a strategic plan, focusing on innovation, culture, administration, research and education. This plan is embodied in the five-letter acronym ‘ICARE’, with each letter representing a key element of the plan.

Innovation is the driving and unifying force for all activities. It’s guided by the College’s new entrepreneur-in-residence initiative, which promotes start-up companies and transforms the creativity of engineering students and faculty into viable businesses.

The College strives toward a Culture of caring, inclusiveness and excellence. This culture is essential to mobilizing the best from all team members, as well as to produce astounding team success. The Administration is the foundation platform that enables all other activities. It strives to be agile and transparent to facilitate the teaching, research, innovation and service mission of CoE.

Research and Education also stand among the University’s core missions. CoE strives toward excellence in research, which focuses on developing new knowledge and relevant solutions to problems that challenge society. Here, education focuses on instilling industry-relevant knowledge and expertise. It’s centered on student-learning in active classroom and project-based settings to encourage students to develop critical thinking skills.

ICARE impacts all departmental programs in a cross-cutting way to promote interdisciplinary and collaborative excellence in scholarship, teaching and service.

The College is recognized as an international hub for graduate study success, with 55 percent of graduate students coming from 23 countries. Founded in 1947, CoE is located in the McArthur Engineering Building, part of the pristine Coral Gables campus. This 120,000 square-foot complex provides state-of-the-art laboratories, paired with a close-knit and warm community vibe that students of all backgrounds can’t refuse.

CoE offers a breadth and depth of graduate programs that provide  students with a competitive edge; from MS offerings in Architectural, Biomedical, Civil, Construction Management, Electrical and Computer, Cybersecurity, Industrial Mechanical and Ocean engineering; to PhD programs in Biomedical, Medical Physics, Civil, Electrical and Computer, Industrial and Mechanical engineering and beyond. Consistent with its focus on educational quality, classes are small and programs highly innovative, encouraging global active learning and experiential student engagement. The College’s research benefits from extensive collaborations with units across UM – known as a Research R1 (highest research activity) university.

CoE research is cross-disciplinary and typically focused on six major fields: healthcare engineering, data analytics, cybersecurity, supply chains, logistics, sustainable and smart systems; all pressing issues of the 21st century world. With respect to innovation, CoE has launched new collaborations with industry, as illustrated through the new UM College of Engineering – Johnson & Johnson 3D Printing Center of Excellence Collaborative Laboratory (Collaborative Laboratory), which provide students and faculty access to state-of-the art prototyping and manufacturing equipment.

The Collaborative Laboratory is a 5,850 square foot facility, including 10 3-D MakerBots that use polymers to create objects, and two 3-D metal printers; one that uses titanium powder and the other, stainless steel. Here, students from the college work alongside seasoned engineers and scientists to gain invaluable first-hand experience of the field.

The College supports more than 25 student clubs, including chapters of diversity organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Student leaders engage in activities that include STEM outreach visits and campus engagement with K-12 students. Interactions are enhanced by service programs such as Engineers Without Borders (EWB) — in which former participants have led international projects to bring clean water and a better life to struggling communities in Latin America — as well as host competitions. CoE members of Pi Tau Sigma, the largest mechanical engineering honor society in the U.S., will host a national conference with more than 170 chapters nationwide on February 23-24, 2018. Through these partnerships and organizations, CoE students have found employment opportunities with some of the largest corporations – including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and more.

The U is a forward-thinking, progressive institution. It places great importance on supporting women through engineering and other STEM-based disciplines – fields that have traditionally been dominated by males. The College describes itself as being a “launching and a landing pad for many talented women,” and Geisha Williams (BSIE ’83), CEO of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company and member of the UM Board of Trustees, is testament to this success.

Williams first uncovered her love for the discipline while working as a cashier at her parent’s grocery store. Later on, when a high school teacher told her she would “make a great engineer,” Williams considered submitting her college application. “There weren’t a lot of women in engineering at the time, and that actually intrigued me,” she explains. “I liked the idea of showing women could compete in male-dominated fields. When my teacher took me and some other girls to visit colleges, I decided to go for it. It’s the best decision I ever made.”

After selecting UM’s CoE, Williams launched a first-class learning venture that’s now the backbone of her career. “I had great professors at UM,” she adds. “They didn’t care that I was a woman…Young women need mentors in their lives who help them see where the best opportunities are. They need mentors who remind them to take the tough jobs. As more women occupy leadership roles in engineering and related fields, more women will be inspired to pursue this career path.”

Emphasis on female involvement is reflected through the faculty, with two new women being appointed to key leadership positions, as well as two women engineers joining the Board of Trustees. This extends past the College of Engineering, with UM itself hosting 10 percent more female graduates than the national average.

So, if you’re an aspiring engineer, your success begins at the U.

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