This plan identifies priorities for continuous improvement to all major aspects of the Department. Recommendations are organized into four pillars: Community, Research, Undergraduate, and Graduate Programs. Our plan guides activities within each pillar over the next five to seven years.


The Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering aspires to solve the most pressing challenges of the 21st century through world class research, unsurpassed student education, and dedicated service to the community.


  • To develop and nurture leaders in Mechanical Engineering through outstanding education and professional development
  • To create, explore, and develop innovations in engineering science and technology through leading edge research
  • To serve the local, state, national, and international communities by addressing critical engineering challenges


Impact: We tackle the most important engineering challenges

Scholarship: The creation and dissemination of knowledge is of paramount importance

Integrity: Our research, teaching, and learning is conducted with unwavering honesty and for the betterment of humanity

Diversity: We are receptive to diverse opinions and value all members of our community

Collaboration and Inclusivity: We value an environment where all members of the department can realize their full potential, and where working together is celebrated

Four Pillars


Objective 1: Build a welcoming and supportive ME community

Objective 2: Periodically asses the climate for students, faculty, and staff

Objective 3: Recognize the contributions of those who positively impact the ME community



Elevate our research - from great to best

  • Improve the communication of research accomplishments externally and internally
  • Promote increased collaboration among faculty
  • Strengthen staff administrative support
  • Establish new faculty/staff leadership role aimed at strengthening industry engagement
  • Support activities that increase the median research funding level across the department


Undergraduate Program

Objective 1: Establish a robust approach to teaching modern computational tools; infuse topics such as machine learning (ML), data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) throughout the curriculum

Objective 2: Improve the student experience by broadening access to project-based experiences and courses; demonstrate applicability to all individuals, their unique life experiences, and their varied skillsets

Objective 3: Expand undergraduate research opportunities; invest in programs that provide summer stipends, facilitate the matching of students with faculty mentors, and that foster engagement in projects that can grow beyond the boundaries of a typical summer research experience


Graduate Program

Continuous Improvement of the Curriculum

  • Provide state-of-the-art learning and research facilities in support of the graduate curriculum
  • Provide plentiful access to emerging and cornerstone graduate courses within each ME area
  • Provide a foundational and equitable curricular experience
  • Expand the Option III Master's Program by exploring opportunities for certificates and micro credentials

Admissions and Recruiting

  • Offer a fully-funded financial package for all full-time Ph.D. students that is aligned with the cost of living in Austin
  • Expand and diversify the pool of prospective graduate students
  • Implement improved information systems for admissions and tracking of graduate student success along their
    degree pathway

Enhancing the graduate student experience 

  • Create a "research skills" course for new Ph.D. students
  • Establish awards to acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of graduate students
  • Clarify the milestones for graduate degrees; communicate their importance to students & faculty; track their