A vibrant science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce is vital to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. The United States has launched a national campaign to widen the STEM pipeline and must depend on institutions of higher education to recruit, retain and graduate STEM majors who are academically prepared to enter these high-demand careers.

With the addition of the Ed and Gwen Cole STEM Building, SFA is perfectly positioned to lead this charge across the East Texas region and to have a far-reaching impact in Texas.

Rising to great heights, the Cole STEM Building, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2018, will help ensure future growth and success for SFA students and the university. This newest on-campus facility was funded through a Texas tuition revenue bond and offers many exciting features.

Anchored by a 52-foot domed planetarium, the building will house large makerspaces, engineering, cyber security, computer science, research and multipurpose labs, classrooms, and a machine shop. It also will house the Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy; the Department of Computer Science; an administrative suite; and the STEM Research and Learning Center.

Through the STEM Research and Learning Center, the facility will not only be utilized by SFA students and faculty but also will service various local communities and K-12 institutions. The center offers outreach programs, educational summits and lecture series that annually serve more than 3,000 K-12 students and teachers, administrators, SFA personnel, and community members. With $3.2 million in external funding, the center supports grant activities that include undergraduate research, teacher preparation and professional development.

As educational opportunities within the College of Sciences and Mathematics expand, our goal is to develop additional undergraduate programs, such as data analytics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and SFA JackTeach, a STEM teacher preparation program.

The outside of the building also will “speak” science, technology, engineering and mathematics with displays and features that reflect the hands-on and inquiry-based learning opportunities that will take place inside.

As faculty members within the college contribute to the knowledge and research base in the STEM disciplines, they simultaneously engage in outreach and recruitment efforts designed to encourage and prepare students to enter STEM careers. We are committed to academic excellence and understand the magnitude of our mission. We are preparing students to lead and serve in a changing world.