A&M-Texarkana secures $3.6 Million for new academic programs

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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 86 th 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.”

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