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Education Education Notes: TCC Connect accredited as sixth campus

Education Notes: TCC Connect accredited as sixth campus

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Tarrant County College Connect Campus, which was established in the summer of 2013 as an administrative division that manages the college’s eLearning, Weekend College and Dual Credit programs, recently received accreditation from the Southern Commission of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Association as a sixth TCC campus.

TCC Connect will be located in downtown Fort Worth at 444 N. Henderson St.

Accreditation assures that TCC’s online offerings meet the same standards for quality, rigor and transferability as its face-to-face programs.

As part of its accreditation, TCC Connect is authorized to offer 18 degrees fully online in the areas of business and office technology.

TCC Connect has grown dramatically since its inception. From fall 2014 to fall 2015, enrollment in the Weekend College program jumped 273 percent, from 154 students to 575. Enrollment in the eLearning program is up 28 percent, from 15,178 students to 19,400. The Dual Credit program, in partnership with area independent school districts, increased 11.3 percent, from 6,550 students to 7,294.

“In an era when it is rare to see new institutions being created, the vision and determination of TCC’s late Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley and the support of the board of trustees allowed us to establish a campus to deliver academic opportunities to non-traditional students,” said TCC Board President Louise Appleman. “We are very excited about this milestone for TCC. Only a few institutions in this country have achieved what we have accomplished. No one outside our leadership thought we could get it done as quickly as we did.”

UTA GETS $1.5M IN GRANTS

TO AID GRAD STUDENTS

The departments of mathematics and computer science and engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington recently received a total of $1.5 million in two U.S. Department of Education grants to help students earn doctoral degrees in areas of national need.

The Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, or GAANN awards, support graduate education in fields including biology, chemistry, computer and information sciences, engineering, geological and related sciences, mathematics, nursing and physics. Graduate students with excellent records who have financial need and plan to pursue a doctorate in one of these fields may apply to their departments for GAANN fellowship support.

The GAANN grants will provide fellowships over the next three years to assist UT Arlington graduate students.

UT Arlington was the only Texas school awarded funding during the 2015 GAANN grant cycle.

The $923,000 mathematics grant, the fourth multi-year GAANN grant since 2006, will help graduate students in disciplines ranging from applied and computational mathematics to math education, probability and statistics. The $600,000 computer science and engineering grant, the department’s second GAANN award, will benefit graduate students specializing in sustainable computing.

TEXAS TRUST REWARD CARD

SCHOOL DONATIONS HIT $1M

Arlington-based Texas Trust Credit Union, along with five independent school districts, recently marked the $1 million milestone of the financial institution’s Spirit Debit Reward card program.

From August 2011 through Nov. 30, 2015, Texas Trust has given $1,007,520 to schools in the Mansfield, Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, DeSoto and Athens districts through the Spirit Reward card. Each school has a custom-designed debit card and receives 10 cents each time their cardholders use the card to make a purchase. The schools receive a check each month based on the previous month’s card usage and can spend the money as they wish.

The Grand Prairie ISD has received more than $435,000 from Texas Trust and has used the money to provide field trips, SAT prep classes, pizza parties, graduation stoles and cords for honor graduates, and student activity buses to transport fans to playoff basketball and football games.

“The Spirit card provides enrichment and many rewarding experiences that the operating budget cannot afford,” said Susan Hull, Grand Prairie superintendent.

Mansfield ISD has earned nearly $300,000, Cedar Hill has earned more than $175,000, DeSoto has received $22,000 and Athens nearly $71,000.

The One Million Brighter celebration took place at the University of Texas at Arlington College Park Center on Dec. 3.

PHYSICIANS ASSISTANT GROUP

HONORS UNTHSC’S LEMKE

Hank Lemke, the director of the Center for Innovative Learning and the founding director of the Physician Assistant Studies Program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, received the 2015 Master Faculty Award. The award is given annually by the Physician Assistant Education Association to one PA in the nation for outstanding contributions in education.

Lemke began teaching physician assistant students while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He came to Fort Worth in 1996 to head the new PA program at UNTHSC and was department chairman until August 2015 when he became director of the Center for Innovative Learning.

Under his leadership, UNTHSC’s PA program grew from 12 students to 75 annually, completed five accreditation reviews and secured more than $500,000 in federal funding.

U.S. News & World Report magazine has ranked the PA program among the top 35 graduate-level physician assistant programs in the country.

“Without a doubt, my proudest career achievement has been helping found the Health Science Center’s PA program,” Lemke said. “Today, over 550 men and women have graduated from our program and are now serving the needs of patients throughout Texas and the country.”

RIVER TRAILS ELEMENTARY

MATH TEAM SCORES BIG

Four advanced students at Fort Worth’s River Trails Elementary School – Hailey Tucker, Gabby Nguyen, Elise Pham and Kyuchan Han – recently won the second annual Explore Horizons Young Mathematicians’ Competition at the Explore Horizons Tutoring and Enrichment Center in Colleyville.

The River Trails team competed against students from Bedford Heights Elementary, Richardson Classical Academy, Spicer Elementary and Binion Elementary in the final challenge. A total of 18 schools representing six area school districts and two charter schools competed in the math contests throughout North Texas over the past two months.

The goal of the competition is to encourage students to continue to learn outside the classroom by applying innovative problem-solving skills not taught in the traditional school curriculum to situations they may encounter in a future career in science, technology, engineering or math.

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