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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Education Notebook: Work to begin on new arts, science high school

Construction is scheduled to start early this year on Fort Worth Independent School District’s new VPA/STEM Academy.

The project was approved by voters during the district’s 2013 Capital Improvement Program campaign. Proposition 2 called for spending $73.3 million for the building. The new high school for grades 9-12 combines the Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPA) with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy (STEM) into the historic I.M. Terrell School – once home to Fort Worth’s oldest black high school – located on the city’s east side.

The new three-level, 80,000-square-foot facility will blend existing buildings on the Terrell campus with new design elements, including upgrades to the lighting and sound systems in the existing auditorium and a museum-like area where school and alumni can display memorabilia and meet on campus. A new main entry for the campus will be marked by an overarching gateway canopy.

“We believe that this new iconic element will build on the existing I.M. Terrell and re-inforce this site as an important landmark for both the city of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth ISD, announcing to the world the presence of great things happening here,” said Eric Horstman of architectural firm Corgan Associates Inc.

The VPA/STEM Academy will have phased occupancy starting with grade 9 students the first year. One grade level will be added per year. The total campus capacity is projected to be 800 students, initially made up of 500 VPA students and 300 STEM students.

The first students are expected to begin class in August 2017.

The existing elementary school on the Terrell campus, along with the technology and testing departments, will be relocated to accommodate the new academy.

TCC Connect accredited as sixth campus

Tarrant County College Connect Campus – established in summer 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.

UTA awarded $1.5 million in national need grants

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

Administered through the Teacher and Student Development Programs Service of the Department of Education, the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, or GAANN awards, support graduate education in areas of national need, 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 Ph.D. 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 UTA graduate students.

UTA 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 at UTA.

SMU names three new VPs

Southern Methodist University appointed three accomplished academic veterans to its leadership team.

Steven C. Currall, — photo — a psychological scientist, joined SMU Jan. 1 as vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Currall oversees all aspects of academic life, including admission, faculty development, libraries, the curriculum and study abroad. He will supervise SMU’s seven degree-granting schools and will hold departmental appointments in three of them – Management and Organizations in the Cox School of Business; Engineering Management, Information and Systems in the Lyle School of Engineering; and Psychology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Currall describes himself as an “organizational architect” and has conducted research in organizational behavior, innovation, entrepreneurship, emerging technologies, trust and negotiation, and organizational governance.

Most recently, Currall served as senior adviser for strategic projects and initiatives to the chancellor at the University of California at Davis, and previously served as dean of the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis for five years.

He spent 12 years at Rice University, where he was the William and Stephanie Sick Professor of entrepreneurship in the George R. Brown School of Engineering and a faculty member in the departments of management, psychology and statistics. He was founding director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. He was formerly vice dean of enterprise and professor of management science and innovation in the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at University College London and a visiting professor at the London Business School.

Harold W. Stanley, — photo – who has been serving as vice president for academic affairs and provost ad interim since June 2015, has been named vice president for executive affairs, effective Feb. 1.

Stanley previously served as an associate provost. In his new role he will work on strategic planning, campus master planning and other university matters. He replaces Thomas E. Barry, who had served in the position since 1995 and retired on Dec. 31, 2015.

Stanley came to SMU in 2003 as the Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He has been a member of the executive board of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies since 2003.

As an associate provost, Stanley oversaw SMU’s international study, research and internship programs in its International Center; teaching, and research at the university’s New Mexico campus, SMU-in-Taos; student academic services in the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center and the Loyd Center for the Academic Development of Student Athletes; and the President’s Scholars program.

Stanley received SMU’s Distinguished University Citizen Award in 2008, the “M” Award in 2010 and the Outstanding Administrator Award in 2013.

SMU’s new vice president for student affairs, Pamela D. Anthony, — photo – also will start her new post on Feb. 1.

Anthony, dean of students at Iowa State University since 2012, will oversee areas including the office of the dean of student life; residence life; women’s, LGBT, multicultural, volunteer and leadership programs; student activities; student conduct; campus ministries; health and wellness programs; career services; the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

She began her career in student life and development at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where she served as area coordinator of residence life from 1996-1998 and coordinator of multicultural affairs from 1997-2000.

Anthony also served as director of student activities at Spelman College from 2000-2003. Her nine years of experience at George State University included service as assistant dean and director of student life and leadership (2003-2009) and as assistant dean of students (2009-2012).

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