Educational Partners Are the Foundation of Marble Falls’s Future

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a function in Fredericksburg that laid out the future for the Texas Tech regional sites in the Hill Country.  TTU’s Provost, Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, and the TTU Vice-Provost for Worldwide eLearning, Dr. Melanie Hart, gave presentations that covered all levels of Texas Tech’s goals as a university, including those applicable the regional sites in Marble Falls (Highland Lakes), Fredericksburg, and Junction.  It was both refreshing and exciting to hear about Texas Tech’s commitment to the Hill Country and to growing the programs here.

While operating revenues have exceeded operating expenditures at all three regional sites for the last five years, enrollment needs to increase to expand the programs and keep the sites viable.  Currently, Texas Tech offers eight programs in Marble Falls, as well as several online programs.  The number of available areas of concentration for the undergraduate degrees is 21, and TTU is working to expand that number.  Because Texas Tech offers only upper-level undergraduate coursework and graduate certificates and degrees, however, their relationship with the local community college partner is critical.  In Marble Falls, we are extremely fortunate to have Central Texas Collegefilling that role.

Dr. Ralph Ford (President of Texas Operations and Online Programs at CTC), Jan Anderson (Dean of Central & Service Area Campus), and Jennifer Cowfer, CTC’s site coordinator in Marble Falls, were also in attendance at the TTU Provost Forum last week, so they heard firsthand how the Hill Country sites contribute to the mission of Texas Tech.  The great news is that CTC has been an active partner for several years now, and they understand the value of the Highland Lakes market as it pertains to their own mission and goals.  In fact, Jennifer is a graduate of the TTU Hill Country program, so she is in a great position to advise students about the challenges and benefits of the local 2+2 program.

This fall, there will be more than 700 students enrolled in classes at the CTC site in Marble Falls and in the dual-credit program at the high school.  Among these will be the first-ever cohort of nursing students in Marble Falls.  The launch of this program is indicative of CTC’s commitment to workforce development and strategic partnerships with the EDC, regional employers, and other entities.

Of course, no conversation about educational partners would be complete without including the Marble Falls ISD.  Fresh off a bond passage in May and the high school earning a 5-star ranking from TEA, MFISD is poised to support the career and academic pathways mandated by House Bill 5.

Please stay tuned for more information on the exciting collaborations that are now taking place, as we focus on building opportunities for educational attainment and successful careers.