TC Board of Trustees begin discussions on new strategic plan

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Texarkana, Texas- TC Board of Trustees met with College personnel today to map out future strategic goals that will help increase the number of persons in our region who attain a higher education degree or certificate. President James Henry Russell said that Texarkana College has substantially increased the number of students reaching completion goals due to TC’s commitment to student success and adhering to last year’s strategic plan.

“TC is fortunate to have a Board of Trustees that will commit an entire day to helping our team sharpen our focus and establish goals that improve student success,” Russell said. “Together, we analyzed student completion data, looked hard at our current financial statements, addressed our community’s workforce needs, and set stretch goals to better position TC as a contributor to the state’s 60x30TX initiative. Our discussions today shape the way we will manage the institution well into the future.”

This was TC’s first step in compiling the 2016-2017 Strategic Plan. From today’s dialogues, administration will present a draft plan to the Board at their April meeting. A final plan will be considered for approval at the May 2016 board meeting.

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In other business, the Trustees took action to approve administrative and faculty contract recommendations for the 2016-2017 academic year. President Russell noted that TC’s payroll is leaner than it has been since 2014, seeing a net decline of 14 full time positions in the last two years including 6 faculty members and 8 non-instructional employees.

“We are working very hard to keep payroll and operating costs as low as possible while maintaining excellent educational opportunities and a beautiful campus for our community,” Russell said. “We never want to go back to the day, not too long ago, when we were operating in a deficit. We are continuously looking at cost savings measures including the reduction of square footage in under-utilized buildings and streamlining our employee base by restructuring positions for greater efficiency. When a job vacancy occurs, through attrition or other circumstances, we take a very close look at whether it makes sense to replace the position. Currently, every person at TC is pulling a very heavy load and doing more with less. I am so proud of the team we have and what we accomplish here with a very lean staff.”

The Board approved 211 contracts that will begin in September 2016 which include both full time faculty and non-instructional employees. Two positions were recommended for non-renewal and include a Spanish faculty position and the Director of Campus Police.

Russell said, “After careful consideration of departmental budgets, administration recommends that the full time Spanish instructor position be restructured to an adjunct position and the full time Director of Campus Police position be restructured to allow for cross duty of an employee to serve as both a TC faculty member and supervisor of the Department of Public Safety.”

TC named Stephen Gass, current TC criminal justice faculty member, to the new Chief of Police/DPS supervisory position. Russell noted that Gass has 25 years of experience as a law-enforcement professional with the Texarkana Texas Police Department including supervision and training of law enforcement personnel, classroom instruction of youth and adults, and experience in coordinating and facilitating community-focused problem-solving initiatives. Gass’ leadership included serving as the Bi-State Narcotics Task Force Commander, Department of Justice Weed & Seed Initiative Coordinator, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Instructor for the City of Texarkana, Texas.

“I am confident that this recommendation will maintain sufficient police and security coverage for Texarkana College while offering a budgetary savings for the College,” Russell said.

The Board also voted to approve a lease agreement with the Texarkana Susan G. Komen Affiliate to occupy un-used office space on the Texarkana College campus to house their local headquarters. The lease agreement will be cost-neutral for the College and will generate an in-kind sponsorship valued at $1,000 per month. The office space will be located in Suite 212 of the Patterson Media Center building on the Texarkana College campus, 2500 N. Robison Road, Texarkana, Texas.

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