The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

District focuses on next five years

By Edna Horton and Marley Malenfant

TCC is planning the future through several community meetings.

Gary Cumbie, interim executive assistant to the chancellor, said the meetings involve the community in TCC’s future.

“We are asking people who live in the community, students and neighborhood associations what they think the college ought to be in five years,” he said.

The first summit was Jan. 27, and five more were held on each campus. A sixth meeting took place at the Benbrook library. All were held in the evening to allow more attendance. Other sessions were aimed at students, faculty and staff.

Cumbie said around the middle of April, the college will take the information learned from the summits and use it to help form the strategic plan.

NE Campus students talked about the good, bad and ugly and their ideas for changes during focus groups for students Feb. 9.

Students sat in groups of five at round tables. Each student was handed a sheet with questions involving issues with the campus. Each group chose a speaker to represent the group’s concerns on NE Campus.

Topics discussed were campus parking, technology upgrades, more veterans programs, lab space and TCC’s marketability.

NE student Shane Love said he disagrees with the current smoking bans.

“We should be allowed to smoke as long as we’re not disrespectful,” he said.

NE student Manuella Yenga said the smoking ban needs stronger enforcement.

“People need to stop smoking around the campus,” she said. “Not everybody wants to be around the smoke. There’s other places they can do that.”

Early on in the discussions, students were asked what attracted them to TCC and what keeps them here. They were also asked what sets TCC apart from other community colleges and universities. Students said they like the affordability, flexibility, location, convenience and program options.

NE student Sandra Martinez said she likes the campus child-care program.

“I’m glad they have the child-care facilities, but they need to have it on every campus,” she said.

Working closely with TCC on this project is the Cross Group. Jim Cross, managing partner, said the group will use a three-step process to

assist TCC in its vision for the future. Cross said the community meetings are the first step.

“The community summits are the focus groups, where we see the needs and the issues of the community,” he said.

Cross said the next step will take what is learned from the community to the Vision 2015 team, a group of leaders within TCC.

This team will take key issues learned from the meetings and narrow them down to a smaller group of goals, strategies and actions. Cross said the final step will be an agreement from the team on a plan of action.

“TCC is doing a beautiful job in the planning process by going out to the shareholders,” he said. “The plan will be successful and, once it gets started, will be moving at a fast pace.”

In the middle of the discussion, students were asked if TCC has negative aspects and what changes the district should make.

NE student Brittny Allbright said TCC could do a better job with the dental program by giving students more space.

“The dental assisting program has to share a room with dental hygiene, and I really don’t think that’s fair,” she said. “There’s 15 to 16 people every semester, and they’re all smushed together. We moved around three times in two weeks, and we’re short on equipment.”

Mark Cook, a partner of the Cross Group, said the strategic planning is still in progress. Cook said this weekend they will look over the full data and begin the plan. He said the Vision 2015 team will discuss a more concrete plan March 2.

Cook said many business leaders and members of the community attended the first focus groups and community summits.

“We’re very pleased with the openness of internal and external people who have been working on this project,” he said.

Students were asked toward the end of their meeting what changes they would visualize in 2015.

The majority of the students said they want to see labeled parking lots, electronic books and power access for students who use laptops.

Many students agreed that veterans who return to school should get more psychological help.

NE student Jan Williams said TCC hopefully will improve its marketability.

“The University of Phoenix is on commercials, the radio and the Internet,” she said. “All I see for TCC are billboards.”

NE student Briana Ochoa said the parking problem on NE Campus needs to improve by 2015.

“They should get more exits or expand the parking lots,” she said. “With the enrollment expanding, it’s gotten worse. I’ve been here since 2007. It wasn’t always like this.”

Members of the community who can’t attend the meetings can voice their opinions on the TCC Buzz Blog.

For more information, contact Cumbie at gary.cumbie@tccd.edu.

The schedule of meetings and link for the Buzz Blog can be found on the home page of the TCC Web site under the “About TCC” tab.


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