UTEP Welcomes Students for New Academic Year

Last Updated on September 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Originally published September 22, 2016

By John

UTEP Communications

New degree plans and enhanced facilities will highlight the new academic year that starts for more than 23,000 students from undergraduates through doctoral candidates Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, at The University of Texas at El Paso. Here are a few examples of how the University has prepared itself to welcome students and help them to achieve their dreams.

UTEP students during the first day of class.
Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP Communications

Construction Updates

University construction crews have renovated or remodeled more than 50 campus labs, offices, classrooms and walkways, but two significant projects were done to enhance pedestrian safety and traffic flow, said Greg McNicol, associate vice president for business affairs – facilities management. In August, Facilities Services and Parking and Transportation Services collaborated to move the Miner Metro shuttle stop from in front of the Sun Bowl Parking Garage (PG-1) to Miner Alley in front of the Fox Fine Arts Center. Part of the project was to erect a new electronic traffic control gate between PG-1 and the University Bookstore, just beyond the visitors’ parking entrance. This change also affects those who used the passage between PG-1 and the bookstore as a drop-off/pickup zone. Those individuals are asked to use the new official campus drop-off area at the nearby S-3 parking lot at the southwest corner of University Avenue and Sun Bowl Drive. Click here for a campus map with updated shuttle stops

“This solution provides better visibility and a safer environment for motorists and pedestrians, whether they are loading on or off the Miner Metro or are crossing [Sun Bowl Drive] to get to the parking lots on the west side of the street,” McNicol said, adding that the area gets congested when a large number of vehicles try to exit the garage at the same time. Speaking of traffic, the campus community can expect all lanes of traffic to re-open on Oregon Street between University Avenue and Glory Road for the start of the semester. Northbound and southbound traffic along Oregon will re-open between University and Schuster Avenue by Aug. 22, but lane restrictions will remain in place there as well as University at Oregon. Parts of Oregon Street had been closed at different times since February 2016 so contractors could relocate utilities, place rail, and repave sections of the street as part of the El Paso Streetcar Project. Construction of the El Paso Streetcar Project is being managed by the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA).

New Degrees

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a new Ph.D. in mechanical engineering this past spring. It is the University’s 21st doctoral degree and the first new Ph.D. program since the biomedical degree started in fall 2013. The new degree will stress energy, aerospace and advanced manufacturing. “The program’s long-term vision is to create a new generation of doctoral graduates to lead industry innovation, to create new technology businesses, and to bring jobs to the Southwest border region as well as to our state and nation,” said Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., chair of UTEP’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Students in the program will be trained in technology entrepreneurship and leadership and can then partner with industry to create new jobs.” The Department of Geological Sciences has re-launched its Bachelor of Science in Geophysics degree after a four-year hiatus due to student interest and the demand for geophysicists from industry, said Aaron Velasco, Ph.D., professor of geological sciences. He said the University was uniquely positioned to offer an “outstanding” program that answers multiple academic and professional needs in the areas of planetary exploration, petroleum exploitation, earthquakes and water resources. “There are not many of these programs in (Texas),” Velasco said. “This is a rich field and we have the expertise to do a lot.”

New Venues

Hungry students on the south side of campus craving Mexican food can visit El Sazon Minero (Miners Flavor) at the El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center. It took over the spot vacated this summer by Delicious Mexican Eatery. The University also has renovated a former apparel and merchandise outlet and rebranded it into the UTEP Ticket Center, 1452 N. Zaragoza, Suite A-500. The “box office” is scheduled to open Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, to serve the ticket-buying needs of far East El Paso residents.