Monday, October 23, 2017, DeKalb, TX– Texarkana College Board of Trustees met today at The Williams House Museum in DeKalb, Texas, for their regular monthly meeting. Trustees along with members of TC faculty, staff and administration, were welcomed with generous hospitality by museum volunteers. President James Henry Russell said that holding regular board meetings in public locations throughout TC’s district is an annual goal of the institution.
“Bowie County spans across many miles, and we recognize the importance of providing greater access for residents in our service area to attend TC Board of Trustee meetings,” Russell said. “Three of TC’s trustees live in the western portion of Bowie County and we are glad for the opportunity to meet closer to their homes. The hospitality shown us today at The Williams House has been overwhelming, and we thank you!”
During the business portion of the meeting, Trustees took action to approve a capital improvement plan and consider a proposal for continued updates. Russell said that over the past 6 years, the College has addressed critical capital improvement needs resulting from years of deferred maintenance, but there are still more improvements required.
“Although TC has taken big steps to catch up on necessary updates, it is imperative to continue improvements to ensure the campus remains a safe and secure site for our students and community,” said Russell.
Russell said the plan is to address a portion of the capital improvements every year and factor expenditures into the College’s annual budget. Several projects need immediate attention, he said, including a new building to house TC’s Construction Technology program, currently located on the grounds of Texas High School.
“To accommodate growth within their district, TISD needs to reclaim the use of the property we are occupying for our Construction Technology program,” Russell said. “We have to decide on a new location for our program and take swift action to prepare for Fall 2018. After careful consideration and a thorough cost analysis, we recommend moving the program to the main TC campus and building a new structure to house it with several existing workforce programs needing room for expansion.”
Russell said the new structure will accommodate the Construction Technology, Industrial Maintenance, Electronics and Electrical Technology programs. Other future improvements would include a major parking lot upgrade, updates to campus infrastructure allowing greater accessibility for students and guests, replacement of outdated desks and fixtures in classrooms and labs, and continued replacement of aging HVAC systems around campus.
“Although capital improvements have significant costs, the majority of the improvements will be capitalized so the net effect on the budget is minimized,” said Russell. “It is a priority for us to strive to meet the goals within our strategic plan of providing excellence in facilities, grounds, and a safe and secure learning environment for students and the community.”
In other business, Vice President of Instruction, Dr. Donna McDaniel, reported that a new internal newsletter series-Data Bits- will launch this week outlining the College’s commitment to student success and data-driven decision-making. McDaniel said TC’s Achieving the Dream liaison, Jamie Ashby, compiled the data for the newsletter series.
“It’s really quite remarkable when you step back and look at our progress over the past few years as a whole,” McDaniel said. “The newsletter is a great data tool that measures our success in real numbers- it helps us identify areas where we need to continue to make progress, and where we are doing well.”
The publication, which will be released in six segments, will be circulated internally to employees and be made available to the public during community presentations. The first issue will highlight the College’s steadily increasing graduation and completion rates, how the College bounced back from a financial crisis in 2011, and how TC faculty and staff have implemented internal systems and controls to place the entire institution’s emphasis on finding more effective ways to help students succeed.
“We survived our budget crisis and made major cutbacks without sacrificing our commitment to improving student success,” McDaniel said. “In fact, we’ve seen an 80% increase in number of degrees or certificates awarded since 2011. We’re constantly optimizing every aspect of the college to help those numbers keep rising.”
McDaniel said Ashby gathered the data after TC was invited to apply for the prestigious Achieving the Dream 2017 Leah Meyer Austin Award. Future issues of Data Bits will break down information submitted in the award application so employees will have a high-level overview of student success efforts campus-wide.