A&M-Texarkana Secures $3.6 Million for New Academic Programs
Texas A&M University-Texarkana was recently appropriated additional funding that will allow the university to expand academic programs through the university’s Better East Texas Initiative. The Better East Texas (BET) Initiative is an educational strategy designed to specifically address both current and projected needs of the East Texas region. “Texas A&M University-Texarkana understands its impact on and responsibility to Texarkana and the entire East Texas region, and strives to implement academic programs that will make the area an even better place to work and live,” said University President Dr. Emily Cutrer.
“A&M-Texarkana always receives a great deal of support from our local elected officials in Austin. State Representative Gary VanDeaver and State Senator Bryan Hughes are vocal advocates for higher education, and they were both instrumental in our university receiving this additional funding,” Cutrer added. The $3.6 million in funding recently secured through the 86th legislative session will allow for the initial development and offering of five academic programs that respond directly to the area’s educational, workforce, and health needs: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW); Master of Social Work (MSW); Master of Nursing- Advance Practice Nurse/Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP); Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME); Certificate in Paper Engineering.
In designing the BET strategy the university sought a variety of sources to collect data on which programs it could implement that would have the greatest positive impact on the lives of East Texans, collecting data from a Texas Health Institute Community Health Needs Assessment for the CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, The Texas Workforce Commission, and working with groups like the Texarkana Manufacturers’ Regional Alliance and experts in the pulp paper industry. This has allowed Texas A&M University-Texarkana to pinpoint specific educational opportunities that will serve the East Texas region well for years to come, while providing students with employment opportunities in fields that are very much in demand. “We’re excited to be adding these five programs to our academic offerings,” added Cutrer. “We know these new courses of study will be of tremendous value to our students and at the same time allow us to contribute to the health and prosperity of the entire East Texas region.”