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Director of Institutional Advancement, Texarkana College
PRESS RELEASE- January 01, 2018
Texarkana, Texas- Survey results announced at Texarkana College’s regular monthly Board of Trustees meeting show 90% of surveyed students and general public answered “Yes” to the question: “Would you recommend TC as a place for a student to start or start over?” According to the College President, maintaining a visible presence throughout the entire service area and striving to build community trust and support have led to a high approval rate from constituents.
Over the last five years, the TC Board of Trustees accomplished their goal of providing citizens in the service area with opportunities to learn more about programs offered at Texarkana College and to express their views and concerns. Quarterly board meetings have been held away from the main campus, and members of TC’s faculty and staff have hosted town hall meetings and participated in community events throughout the entire service area.
“Our goal has been to keep a finger on the pulse of the communities we serve and continue to be the primary economic engine of our service area by providing a high return on investment for our students and the businesses that support our programs and depend on us to provide a skilled workforce,” TC President said.
A report by TC’s Vice President of Instruction indicated that the College had conducted a thorough review of all degrees and certificates TC offers. With completion goals as the catalyst for change, administrators evaluated program curricula to ensure TC courses offer rigorous and relevant instruction that leads to high demand occupations or transfer to a four-year degree program. TC participated in the landmark Department of Labor TAACCCT grants funding community colleges for creating enhanced and accelerated pathways to employment. TC was among the first community colleges in the nation to receive funding through a round one consortium grant focusing on health care education. In its round three grant consortium partnership, TC implemented cutting-edge technology that supported the use of open-source instructional software and materials which have facilitated a more affordable and efficient culture for both faculty and students.
“A student can now earn more than half of their degree through an open-source medium. This cuts down on student expense and provides access to state-of-the-art curriculum that has been developed by global leaders in education, business and industry,” said TC’s Vice President of Instruction. “This type of instruction has not been available within our community until now, and Texarkana College is pleased to be the first to offer this opportunity to our students.”
Leveraging experience from previous rounds, TC also became a round four consortium leader in the TAACCCT grant program to continue its work in creating technology-enriched educational programs that further supported economic growth and development for the community.
Over the last five years, the College has taken steps to ensure students reach their highest potential by earning a credential or degree. To support the student success endeavor, the Palmer Memorial Library has become a centralized Academic Learning Commons housing library services as well as a Student Success Center. Specialized advisors work with students to guide them toward accelerated pathways that lead to faster completion. Additional services include a Hispanic population outreach center and specialized tutorials, as well as job placement and credit transfer assistance. In addition, a student internship program has led to greater completion rates and job-placement within our community. One example is the utilization of students to assist with daily operations at the on-campus radio station KTXK FM 91.5, an NPR affiliate.
In a presentation led by the TC Faculty Association President, the Board of Trustees learned that TC was named as the “Best Place to Work” in the Northeast Texas Region of Community Colleges based on statewide and local survey data. Members of the Board noted that a focus on recruiting and retaining first-class human resources led TC to receiving this distinguished status. In addition, several recent updates have supported the prestigious designation. Updates include accessibility to online employment applications, yearly evaluation of all employees, a board-approved compensation manual, and 100% faculty compliance with SACS requirements. Board members also noted that TC’s faculty and staff are the institution’s most valuable asset, and the implementation of a campus-wide professional development plan has been a successful initiative within the College’s culture.
The Chief Financial Officer reported that TC had a break-even budget despite the fluctuations in state funding and revenues. Cost-savings initiatives that helped balance the budget include the adoption of an in-house Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and the implementation of an energy management plan that resulted in significant savings on energy costs. These changes are the first phase of the College-wide master facility plan, which also includes updates on campus security and safety systems. In addition, the plan includes the expansion of campus facilities by repurposing and renovating the newly acquired Texas A&M University-Texarkana facilities to house growing TC programs. TC’s CFO reported that the net assets of the Texarkana College Foundation have exceeded $5 million, and the new full-time executive director has developed a plan to increase the amount to $10 million in the next five years.
In final business, a presentation was made to the Board of Trustees by TC performing arts students who have helped with the development of the newly established “Center for the Arts” on the TC campus. The students presented a plaque to the trustees showing their appreciation for their vision of strengthening relationships within the community and the development of the arts in the region.