Surveying programs are dwindling across the United States. State budget cutbacks to New Mexico State University (NMSU) included plans to eliminate the engineering surveying program—a program that has brought alumni Scott Croshaw 21 interns over the years. Scott is passionate about the future of his profession and the career paths of future employees as many interns have made a career at Wilson & Company and contributed to the success of the company.
Scott has served as the Chairman of the New Mexico State University Survey Engineering Industry Advisory ommittee and Board Member of the New Mexico State University College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council. He and his peers envisioned the struggles their companies, and ultimately the State of New Mexico, would face if this program was eliminated. The Dean of the College of Engineering at NMSU appointed Scott and a group to advise and redesign the program over a fourmonth period. This group already knew that industries employing surveyors were looking for more than just property surveys—which was the focus of the program. They evaluated the needs of the profession and industry, and developed an outline for a curriculum coursework and a higher education degree program to meet the demands. Taking the program off the tripod and making it a premier program included adding courses in emerging technologies and a variety of geospatial technologies that
include sUAS, terrestrial and airborne LiDAR, bathymetry, and mining.
Scott recognized that this new program must consider traditional as well as non-traditional students in order to “capture all the bright minds who are interested.” Potential non-traditional students include field survey technicians who may wish to advance their education, but who are always on the move to project sites. Living hours away from NMSU’s campus in Las Cruces, it’s difficult for many of these potential students to stop life for four years to attend college. The new program took this into account and designed an option to complete two years of courses online or at a local community college, and the last two years on campus at NMSU. Traditional students can complete all 120 hours in four years at NMSU if they want a typical college experience. This group also advised the college of engineering to consider distance delivery options with online and simulcast.
New recruitment programs are being implemented to target high school students who may be unaware of a field that is in high demand, offers competitive salaries, and is attractive for multiple other reasons. Internships are also widely promoted in the program to establish connections and reducing turnover by better helping students uncover if surveying is a lifetime career. This all benefits Wilson & Company with an established recruiting pipeline to pull new hires.
This revamped geomatics program began this fall, just one year after it was slated to be discontinued by the university. Support from industries that use licensed professional surveyors has been huge.
The university has established a scholarship fund to assist with continued support. Scott has enjoyed giving back to help ensure that the young professionals who graduate from the program receive an education preparing them with a higher education for the workforce. Scott exemplified Higher Relationships in this effort by addressing the needs of not only our industry, but also our clients, as his personal goal to provide a solution.