College of Engineering
Houston Baptist University recognizes the growing need for engineers and information specialists who understand how to incorporate complex, state-of-the-art technologies in the systems that they design, implement and secure. To meet the need for Houston’s energy, computing/software/information, maritime, manufacturing, healthcare, financial, and aerospace industries, HBU has established a College of Engineering.
The College of Engineering was established in September 2017, based upon an extensive, external feasibility study, documented local and national demand, and recommendations of an Engineering Advisory Board. The founding dean of the College, Dr. Stan Napper, was hired in the summer of 2017, and degree programs were developed that fall.
The new programs in Cyber Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering, will start in the fall of 2018. These programs provide the only BS-level degrees in cybersecurity, and the College of Engineering is the only engineering college offering cybersecurity education, in the entire Houston metropolitan area.
The vision of the College of Engineering at HBU is to be the best in the world for integrating fundamental principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and modern computing and information technology (IT), with historic Christian values and standards (FAITH) to serve God and serve mankind. These three “pillars” (STEM, IT, Faith) supporting each other and supporting each graduate meet a significant need in the world of the 21st-century challenges, and uniquely position HBU as a preparer of talent for the workforce, the community and the world.
The mission of the College is to educate and train engineers who will utilize God-given resources and God-given talents to serve humanity by solving technical challenges efficiently and securely. HBU Engineers serve the Lord Jesus Christ and serve mankind by making the world healthier, more productive and more secure.
The need for engineers and scientists who can design and secure information and control systems is large and growing:
- 300,000 jobs for cyber professionals in the US (2 million globally)
- More than 3,300 jobs for cyber professionals in the Houston area (20,000 in Texas)
- Cyber workforce needed for business vitality in Houston in Energy, Healthcare, Maritime, Banking and Finance, Legal, Education and other industry sectors
- US Department of Homeland Security has identified 16 critical infrastructure industries, all of which are present in the Houston metro area
Engineering Advisory Board
HBU’s Engineering Advisory Board began meeting in May of 2015 to study the possibility of establishing a College of Engineering. The Board, which is comprised of industry experts in engineering and IT, conducted a literature review, analyzed labor market data, and collected information from industry partners to determine areas of possible growth. Based on this information, the focus of the Board quickly centered on creating a degree program in Cyber Engineering as a first step in building programs under a College of Engineering. The Cyber Engineering program is unique to this region and will result in the production of highly sought-after graduates in this emerging professional field. Members of this Board represent major companies and agencies and are responsible for securing the physical and digital systems of their stakeholders. Members of this Board have also served on advisory boards for academic engineering programs at Texas A&M University, University of Houston, and Louisiana Tech University.
CyberSeek is a unique tool designed to decode the relationship between job seekers and employers hiring for in-demand cybersecurity skills. This interactive set of maps, tools, and career pathways aligned to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Workforce Framework is an important step towards addressing one of the most critical workforce challenges of our time. CyberSeek provides job seekers, employers, educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders with detailed, actionable data about the cybersecurity job market.
The tool shows a national demand of approximately 300,000 cybersecurity professionals, with a demand of over 20,000 cybersecurity professionals for the State of Texas, with a supply that is rated “Very Low”. In the Houston metropolitan area alone, the demand is estimated to be over 3,300, with a supply that is rated to be “Very Low.”
Cyber Houston was established by the Greater Houston Partnership to serve as a Task Force for supporting the metro area. The Cyber Task Force released a report in October 2015 on “Cybersecurity and Business Vitality.” The Task Force provided a number of recommendations for protective measures, awareness measures, and response to criminal cyber activity. The report provided specific recommendations for different major business sectors (e.g. Energy, Healthcare, Legal, Banking and Finance, and Education). Finally, the Greater Houston report noted in 2015 that “job postings had grown 74 percent in just six years, twice as quickly as other IT jobs.” Opportunities in cybersecurity are growing faster than employers can fill them. They project median salaries for cybersecurity jobs to be between $70,000 and $118,000. And 84 percent of the cybersecurity positions require a bachelor’s degree or higher. HBU is represented on this Task Force as they work to update the report.
The following websites provide additional information and resources for professionals working in cybersecurity.
- National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)
- National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies
- Department of Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Sectors
- Cyber Houston
- Cyber Degrees (information about jobs and about degree programs)
Learning by Doing
College of Engineering students will learn to address cyber-related issues (e.g., security, internet of things, embedded systems, software protection, network defense, programming, mobility) from the beginning of the freshman year. The first-year projects curriculum utilizes a hardware platform (mobile electronics kit, computing kit) to provide students hands-on projects in learning the intricacies of engineering and computing that results in an immersive learning environment. This curriculum cultivates problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Students look at problems (typically in the cyberspace domain), design algorithms and propose them as solutions. Finally, they analyze the solutions.
All majors in the College begin with a two-semester sequence of engineering projects, the SAFE Lab Engineering Projects, during the first year of the curriculum. These courses are taken in conjunction with MATH (calculus) Also required in the first year of the curriculum is the two-semester sequence of cyber projects, the SAFE Lab Cyber Projects.
Curricular threads are broad themes or topics that appear in many if not all courses in a degree program. These themes will appear to some degree in all three of the HBU College of Engineering programs. Curricular threads include Cloud Computing (storage, access, security), Cybersecurity, Mobility (wireless networks, mobile devices, Internet of Things), Data Analytics (Big Data, machine learning), and Project Management.
Students will be required to have an appropriate laptop and the curriculum’s hardware platforms, contained in the kits which are provided as part of the SAFE Lab Engineering and SAFE Lab Cyber courses. The students’ own solutions to the challenges, projects and open-ended exercises will be implemented using this platform.
Professional Learning Experiences
All students in the College of Engineering will complete a year-long senior project, directed by faculty but sponsored by industrial partners. In addition, all students will complete at least one professional education experience (i.e., internship). HBU staff will assist students in identifying internship opportunities from among many corporate partners.
What to Expect of the College of Engineering
Students in the College of Engineering can expect to learn fundamental engineering, science and math principles, and to learn how these topics relate to one another to enable problem-solvers to create innovative and implementable solutions. Students can expect to utilize modern computing and information technology effectively and securely. Students can expect to learn how biblical Christian values will help them to serve God and serve humanity through technical and creative problem-solving. Students can expect to be challenged, to be motivated, and to develop as leaders.
Related Student Organizations
As the College of Engineering grows, building the degree programs one year at a time, student chapters will be formed, and all students will be encouraged to join one or more professional organizations, such as:
- Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
- National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
- Christian Engineering Society
Majors and Programs
The College of Engineering (CoE) at Houston Baptist University (HBU) will (pending SACSCOC approval) initially offer a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. These programs have been designed to provide high-demand skills and knowledge (e.g. network security, software development, security analysis, control systems design and security). The degree programs will comply with and seek accreditation by ABET.
Engineering and computer science undergraduate degree programs are accredited by ABET through the Engineering Accreditation Commission and the Computing Accreditation Commission. Our initial application for accreditation will be submitted after our first class graduates, anticipated in spring of 2022. As is common for new engineering programs, we will request that our accreditation be made retroactive back to our charter class so that their degrees are included.
Dean Stan Napper has served as a Program Evaluator for ABET (for Biomedical Engineering programs), served on the BMES Accreditation Activities Committee for many years, and served on the ABET Board of Directors for six years (which included three years as ABET Board Liaison to the Engineering Accreditation Commission). Dr. Napper served as dean of the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University from 2004-2013. During this time (in 2008), he led the campus through successful accreditation of seven engineering programs, two engineering technology programs, and the computer science program.
The degree programs at HBU have been designed with ABET accreditation in mind. Curriculum, courses, educational objectives, and student outcomes for our programs meet the definitions and criteria for accreditation. Assessment processes have been designed to enable sufficient data for evaluation and continuous improvement.