(The Heart of Texas P-20 Council includes representatives from K-12 education, higher education and employers. They meet regularly to help coordinate efforts to launch our young people into productive lives as workers and citizens. This post is one in a monthly series of posts intended to share information about the work of this important group in our community. For more posts in this series, click here: P-20 education. )
By Rob Wolaver
It is said that progress does not come without change. That’s certainly the case at Texas State Technical College where we are in the midst of change the college hasn’t seen in its 50-year history. The process is all part of a transition to “single accreditation.” It’s a bold move inspired by economic growth and motivated by industry demand for a skilled workforce.
In the past, TSTC’s four legacy campuses, which ran semi-independently under the direction of TSTC System, would get individually accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Now, we’ll be accredited – reviewed for integrity and quality of student learning – as one college.
It may sound simple but as Chancellor Mike Reeser, who has led the efforts, will tell you, this has been, by far, one of TSTC’s greatest challenges, but one which eventually, could prove to be the zenith of our institution’s storied existence. This change will be remembered as a high point that will lay the foundation for the advancement, development and continued success of TSTC.
Already, we have successfully aligned personnel, programs, curriculum and learning outcomes. We now have a statewide course catalog and student handbook. And, we’ve revamped a consumer-friendly website. TSTC, with 11 campuses total, is now one college serving all of Texas.
It has been a demanding endeavor for the 1,715 employees across the state, and while the job is not finished, we’re well on our way. Now, what does this all mean to you and more importantly, what does this all mean to our TSTC students?
For Texans, One TSTC allows the college to standardize operations and eliminate duplications of work associated with separately accredited colleges. Combining resources will set the stage for expansion of instructional services into communities that need skilled workers or specialized training.
For our students, TSTC is better able serve you. The alignment allows us to better improve classrooms and keep our laboratories stocked with the latest industry tools and technology. Imperative, because we are a hands-on technical school with the goal of making sure you are skilled to start work the day you graduate.
For industry and employers, it means you keep getting technically-skilled workers who can hit the ground running. It means we keep meeting with industry leaders, to make sure our students are well prepared for the jobs at hand. It means we keep doing what we’ve always done best – job placement for the state.
For employees, it means that TSTC will continue to be the best place to work. A place dedicated to its mission of student access and success and its even bigger task of making sure Texas has the employees it desperately needs.
For Texas, this means a stronger economy and lower employment. Indicators of prosperity that benefit every proud resident. It means we continue working with state government and elected officials to make sure we are offering the programs that Texas industry needs and the economy demands.
For Waco, it means that TSTC in your community remains the flagship campus for all the college locations. It means that TSTC will continue to be a partner in education with surrounding ISDs as well as institutions like McLennan College and Baylor University.
The transition to single accreditation is further testament to TSTC’s administrative innovation. Just last year TSTC became the only college in Texas to adopt a funding model based entirely on student employment outcomes. Simply put, we’ll get paid when the student gets paid. TSTC as the saying goes, “putting your money where your mouth is.”
Bottom line, we’re not only investing but doubling down on the communities we serve, that includes Waco, Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Ingleside, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Williamson County.
As we continue the alignment process, we look forward to the next half century with optimism that our investment will pay off for our students and employers. Ultimately, we recognize that bold leadership and initiative will set the stage for success and the future prosperity of this great state we all call home.
This Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Rob Wolaver. Rob began his professional career in 1989 at Tarleton State University and left Tarleton in 1992 to become the director of Student Activities and Housing at Texas State Technical College Waco. In the 24 years at TSTC, Rob has served in many leadership roles including, Associate Vice President, Vice President, Executive Vice President, Interim President, Provost. Rob is also active in his community where is on the board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Texas and chair of the Lorena Economic Development Council. Wolaver has served the City of Lorena as a City Council member and Mayor Pro-Tem.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.