Section IV: COC Programs
3.4.2 The institution's continuing education, outreach, and service programs are consistent with the institution's mission.
JUDGMENT OF COMPLIANCE
NARRATIVE/JUSTIFICATION FOR JUDGMENT OF COMPLIANCE
Texas A&M International University's continuing education, outreach, and service programs are consistent with the institution's mission which calls for the delivery of "... well-defined programs and services that improve the quality of life for citizens of the border region, the State of Texas, and national and international communities."
Through programming efforts and outreach initiatives, the University provides opportunities for students and the community at large to experience a variety of exhibits, performances and special events. The University is constantly seeking ways to be involved in the life of the community it serves and for the community itself to be involved in the life of the University. As part of this commitment, it regularly makes available facilities to host community events and functions.
Continuing Education, a component of the Office of Special Programs, provides test preparation seminars for national or state exams such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, and the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA). These seminars are scheduled throughout the year for completion before the national testing dates. This effort focuses on increasing the number of entering freshmen and graduate students. In addition, Continuing Education provides Advanced Placement (AP) Summer Seminars for local and area high school AP teachers in an effort to improve instruction and increase the test passing rate. Other Continuing Education programs focus on community professional needs related to the mission of the academic unit including advanced cardiac life support, basic life support, grant writing, paralegal certification, and business and financial strategies.
The Center for Western Hemispheric Trade serves as a forum for the discussion of a broad range of international issues through a variety of speakers, conferences and meetings. The Western Hemispheric Trade Keynote Speaker Series presents practical and targeted lectures imparted by distinguished leaders, recognized experts and outstanding scholars in the trade and business arenas. The Series brings individuals of exceptional accomplishment and expertise to enhance the academic experience of Texas A&M International University students, faculty and the community.
The A.R. Sanchez, Sr. Distinguished Lecture Series was instituted in 1997 by the University's College of Arts and Humanities (now the College of Arts and Sciences) with funding from a trust established by A. R. Sanchez, Jr. in honor of the late A. R. Sanchez, Sr., founder of International Bancshares Corporation, successful oil and gas producer and long-time supporter of higher education. The lecture series will offer the community rare opportunities to hear from distinguished researchers, prominent leaders and respected thinkers.
Established in 2002, the Hinojosa Reading Research Center is directed by the College of Education. The Center supports the development of literacy in linguistically and culturally diverse students. A major task of the Center is to develop and disseminate effective teaching models to help children learn to read effectively. Unique instructional approaches, resources and materials are available to engage students with oral and written language. Training for pre-service teachers and reading specialists is ongoing at the Center.
Texas A&M International University, in conjunction with the Laredo Development Foundation, Laredo Morning Times, and the City of Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau, participated in "Laredo Speaks/Habla Laredo", a community based survey project. The survey was aimed at determining popular opinion on a variety of issues, including quality of community facilities, number of museums, job opportunities and availability of housing within the city. The University's Texas Center coordinated the collection and processing of surveys and analyzed the data.
An annual Financial Aid Fair provides information to help students and their parents be aware of the avenues for assistance available. An annual Career Fair provides access to a variety of employment opportunities for students and alumni.
Texas A&M International University’s Office of Special Programs’ “Bringing Kids to the University” focuses on early intervention and college awareness with students from Pre-K through 16 and beyond. This includes transition from high school into the freshman year of college and entrance into graduate and professional schools.
“Bringing Kids to the University” includes Children’s Summer Workshops (ages 3 to 12), TexPREP (ages 12 - 18), Bridge (ages 17 -19), and GEAR UP “Creating a Vision” (ages 13 -17). The Office of Special Programs brings parents, teachers, and students to the University for workshops, training, and special summer courses.
The TexPREP program introduces middle and high school students to (a) engineering and mathematical hands-on applications to real life problems, and (b) college preparation through computers, calculus, logic, research methodology and pre-engineering courses.
Recruitment, retention and graduation are the three goals that form the foundation of the Office of Special Programs. All of these programs and their components target the goals of “Closing the Gaps” by promoting participation, success, excellence, and retention in academic studies. Research is a built in component of data collection. Over 90 percent of all college eligible students that have participated in these programs are currently in college or have received bachelors/graduate/professional degrees.
The Young Entrepreneurship Summer (YES) Camp is designed to give students an opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial interests and talents. In addition, students increase their understanding of the role that free enterprise and enterprise development play in achieving economic growth, community renewal, and individual success. Over the past five summers, 143 students from Laredo and area high schools participated in the YES Camp.
The Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development partners with various local non-profit agencies to offer a broad range of educational programs and activities to middle-school students and family members in two outreach centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Laredo area.
A three day, on-campus overnight nursing enrichment weekend was initiated in Summer 2004 to provide high school students with an opportunity to explore the possibilities of nursing as a profession.
Community service is a major commitment of the faculty of Texas A&M International University and is detailed on the annual professional performance profile report of the faculty.(Faculty Handbook, Section 2.2 A8) Faculty service is defined by the Faculty Handbook, Section 2.3 B as:
The Center for the Fine and Performing Arts is the finest facility of its kind in South Texas. For the first time, the residents of South Texas, from school children to senior citizens, have a state-of-the-art facility where they can both produce and enjoy popular and classical music concerts, operas, musicals, dance recitals, plays, and art exhibitions. The Center provides the region with greater opportunities to participate in the broader cultural life of our country. In addition to serving as a teaching, production, and performance facility for University communication, music, art, dance, and drama students, the Center hosts summer youth camps in art, music, and dance. During the regular school year, the Center is available for use by local and regional school districts and community groups. Below is a general list of the type of community outreach events which the Center promotes:
The Regents' Initiative, approved by The Texas A&M University System's Board of Regents in March 1999, is an initiative building upon the Partnership for Texas Public Schools. The program goal is to significantly impact the quality and productivity of educator preparation programs. The Regents' Initiative expands University services and outreach to the state's public schools. Each university appoints a team led by a project director and composed of coordinators in the areas of teacher recruitment, teacher induction and the Center for Professional Development and Technology. The University has participated in the Regents' Initiative since January 2000. The objectives of the initiative are:
University faculty members serve on a variety of community boards, including school boards, hospital boards, agency boards, and advisory committees. Several faculty members serve as Faculty Fellows working as partners with public high school teachers to deliver Advanced Placement courses. In addition, University faculty and staff are active participants in the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) of the United Way and the University was recently recognized as a top campaign contributor in 2003.