SOUTHFIELD—Lawrence Technological University is one of a very few institutions of higher learning to see growth in enrollment through the pandemic, and has also seen massive expansions in sponsored research funding, economic development grants, and philanthropy.
And according to LTU President Tarek M. Sobh, in his “State of the University” speech Monday, the University’s growth will continue—with new programs in the life sciences, data sciences, business intelligence, gaming, robotics, and more, as well as an increase in high school outreach through growing dual-enrollment programs.
Sobh accentuated LTU’s recent achievements in the presentation to about 200 faculty and staff and a livestreaming audience. He said people attend colleges and universities based on the premise that when they graduate, they can earn good salaries in rewarding careers. Too many colleges, he said, “are not delivering on those premises. But LTU is.”
Sobh said 95% of LTU graduates get good jobs with high wages in their fields of study upon graduation—or even before they graduate.
LTU has transformed itself from a commuter school to a residential college with the capacity to house over 1,000 students, including more than 600 student-athletes—and those athletes have a high grade point average.
External funding at LTU—a combination of sponsored research, grants, funding for LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator manufacturing incubator, and philanthropy—exploded from $3 million in 2020-21 to $10.5 million in 2021-22, and has already hit $3.4 million in just the first two months of the current fiscal year. LTU faculty is currently applying for 58 National Science Foundation research grants totaling $11.9 million.
LTU is also reaching out to the region’s high schools with a dual enrollment program, which has doubled in size in two years to 900 students in 45 school districts. Sobh said the goal is to raise that number to 3,000 students in three years. “Why is this important? It provides high school students with hope, letting them know that college is not out of reach,” Sobh said. Half of LTU’s dual enrollment students wind up attending LTU, and 40 percent more attend other colleges.
In the past few years, LTU has added programs in nursing, physician assistant studies, cardiovascular perfusion, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, autonomous mobility, business intelligence and data analytics, virtual and augmented reality, data sciences, and gaming. All of these programs are interdisciplinary, frequently combining classes in engineering, science, business, and design—and more such programs on the way, Sobh said. Also being considered are further programs in the health sciences. And LTU’s move to absorb the Specs Howard School of Media Arts earlier this year added 85 students, and the alumni of Specs@LTU in prominent places in the media “will help us brand LTU as the university of tomorrow,” Sobh said. “We need to be known not within a 20-mile or 50-mile radius, but statewide, nationally, and internationally, as the innovative university of tomorrow.”
LTU’s Centrepolis Accelerator, unique among business incubators in that it assists manufacturing startups and small businesses rather than software developers, has helped 230 startups and attracted millions of dollars in grant funding from foundations and economic development agencies, Sobh said.
Finally, Sobh said, LTU is moving its Blue Devil mascot into the metaverse, with QR codes being posted around campus that create augmented-reality animations of the mascot “Blue” on visitors’ smartphones, presenting points of pride about LTU.
A video of Sobh’s presentation is available at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=
Monday’s State of the University speech kicked off a full week of LTU activities that will culminate Saturday morning with Sobh’s formal inauguration as LTU’s eighth president, a Homecoming football game Saturday afternoon, and an inauguration gala Saturday night. For a full schedule of all Homecoming and Inauguration festivities, visit www.ltu.edu/inauguration.
Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. The Wall Street Journal ranks LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.