StudentsReview :: The University of Texas Pan American - Extra Detail about the Comment
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The University of Texas Pan American

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Date: Apr 01 2015
Major: Electrical Engineering (This Major's Salary over time)
I turned down offers from other schools since my credits did not transfer. Furthermore, at the time the electrical engineering department was small and most of the students worked hard for their grades. It seemed like an excellent choice at the time. Turned out I was wrong.

While I was in the program things changed for the worst. The mechanical department had (and still has) a big cheating problem which was nonexistent in the electrical dept. However, it spread to the other departments. Students will stash answers in the restrooms and take frequent breaks or even take out books and laptops when the prof steps out for a second (you'd be surprised at how fast they take them out and put them away, literally in a blink). One student will answer the homework and scan/copy it for everyone else. Despite this hardly anything is done. Most professors are ambivalent about it and the few that have tried to do something were reprimanded by the dean or suggested to work at another university. The only consequence of getting caught cheating was an automatic C. Yes, a C not an F even though that's what the code of conduct states it should be.

Many senior design projects weren't even worthy of being called senior projects. One group simply cut out a cardboard shape and attached some motors to it the night before. They got an A. Another group just built an H-bridge (a simple circuit) for senior project and also got an A. Some seniors didn't even know how to measure current or voltage (something you learn as a freshman). Many students got away with such simple projects and graduated. Because of that engineering companies stopped recruiting from UTPA.

The university is well known for HESTEC which is a week long celebration of STEM field careers. During this week many engineering companies (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, NASA, SpaceX, IBM, Intel, and several others) would come down to recruit. None of the mentioned companies hire from UTPA anymore since the alumni didn't even have basic engineering skills. The few companies that do come down only do so to look friendly but don't recruit from here. Many of the recruiters have said so themselves.

Overall UTPA has some great potential and mostly decent professors but the students in the engineering department just aren't ready for that level of study. The majority of students are from the local highs schools that consistently underperform and graduate students not matter what just to meet numbers. This means they lack the math/science background necessary for engineering. Regardless, the move on just so UTPA meets numbers. Furthermore, cheating is rampant and nothing is being done about it.

UTPA prides itself in graduating the most Hispanics but that shouldn't be a point of pride. Because of such administration pressures the colleges (particularly engineering) to graduate more students every year whether they are ready or not. If they don't then professors are fired (even tenured ones, an excellent tenured professor was dismissed because many students did not pass his class). This causes many students who aren't qualified to fall through the cracks and ruin job opportunities for the hard working students. Many companies will just throw away an application if the person is an UTPA alumni. Hopefully the merger with UTB into UTRGV will improve the situation. It's sad that such a potentially great school has such problems and bad reputation. The RGV is an excellent region for start-ups and educational progress but administration is taking UTPA down the wrong direction. UTPA should worry about the quality, not the numbers of students. Otherwise it's just another degree mill.

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