Black History Month Initiative Featured at Texarkana College Trustees’ Meeting

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At Texarkana College’s February board meeting, Trustees heard a report from TC’s Dean of Students, Robert Jones, about the month-long campus celebration of Black History. Jones said the theme for the month was “Reflect, Connect, and Thrive.”

“We kicked off the month with a Black Business Leader Panel which was held virtually and featured six influential black community members,” said Jones. “LaMoya Burks who is TC’s head librarian, an adjunct instructor, and a faculty advisor, served as the panel moderator. She asked questions that had been submitted in advance by TC students and the community. More than 100 people watched the streamed event which is still available on the TC website and YouTube.”

Jones said there was a campus-wide committee formed to plan the Black History Month initiatives.

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“All around campus there was something going on. We had a large display in the library featuring African American authors and their stories. Our music instructor, Marc-Andre Bougie, narrated a historical video about Scott Joplin while a player-piano played Joplin’s music. The Palmer Memorial Library staff participated in the African American Read-In sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English. TRIO’s Education Opportunity Center staff presented a Black Excellence in Academia daily spotlight on their social media pages. And, as a finale to the month, our culinary department hosted an African American heritage cuisine demonstration with Liberty Eylau’s dual credit culinary instructor, Alicia Prater, with participation from students in Liberty Eylau’s culinary dual credit program.”

Jones said they had to limit in-person attendance for these activities due to lingering COVID restrictions.

“Although we were hopeful we could host all the events in person, we were still able to make great connections with our students and our community by hosting the activities virtually,” said Jones, “We are looking forward to building on these efforts next year and in the future.”

Highlights are available on the TC website at https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/black-history/.

In other business, trustees heard a report from Dr. Donna McDaniel, Vice President of Instruction, about TC’s recognition by the national Achieving the Dream (ATD) Network as a Leader College of Distinction.

“We are so honored to be recognized as an ATD Leader College of Distinction that celebrates our progress as an institution toward meeting challenging student success and equity goals,” said Dr. McDaniel. “Since joining the ATD Network in 2010, we have continuously improved student completions rates and now we consistently rank as one of the top community colleges in Texas for student success measures.”

McDaniel said success stems from a campus culture of providing excellent service by faculty and staff members to students at all points of their journey.

“I am so proud of our enrollment services staff, our student support services personnel, and our faculty members for their contribution to TC earning the Leader College of Distinction status,” McDaniel said, “However, we would not be celebrating this recognition without the hard work and dedication by the team who pulled our application together. I want to thank Dr. Dixon Boyles, dean of the business and social sciences division, along with Jamie Ashby, STEM faculty member, and Donna Standridge, institutional research analyst, for their extensive and precise work on completing the competitive application. We are so grateful for their excellence in preparation of our submission.”

ATD leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. More information can be found at https://www.achievingthedream.org/

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