JEFFERSON — East Texans have a new university in the neighborhood thanks to the recent opening of a Texas Tech University satellite location at the Jeffersonian Institute in downtown Jefferson.
The university opened its new Professional Education and Academic Advising Office on May 4 in Jefferson by forming a partnership with the Jeffersonian Institute and the Schluter Foundation of Jefferson.
“The Jeffersonian Institute and the Schluter Foundation always wanted to get a Tier 1 university here in Jefferson and because of the Jeffersonian Institute building here, it makes the perfect satellite location, with the large ballroom area downstairs and the classrooms upstairs,” the campus’ new Program Coordinator Brian Brooks said on Wednesday.
For now, there will be two classrooms upstairs at the new Texas Tech campus but Brooks said he hopes for the other rooms to eventually be used as classrooms for more and more certification programs or classes as the location continues to grow.
Brooks said the location has four main services it currently is focusing on offering to the community but he looks for those to expand as partnerships with local industries are formed and those industries express their educational needs.
“The office will hold courses from Texas Tech’s Coding Academy which offers full web stack certification and those entry level jobs usually start out at $55,000 a year and up,” Brooks said. “It’s a great course that allows full web stack developer training, which means if you have a company, the developer can design their website on the front end and provide full network support on the back end.”
Chris Lofton, CEO of Austin Coding Academy, will begin the inaugural Texas Tech Coding Academy at the Jefferson facility on Oct. 12.
Classes will be two nights a week for nine months for a full-stack web developer certification.
The campus will also offer a cyber security course.
“That’s in huge demand right now and there’s even more money in that field for entry level jobs and those classes will begin in October,” Brooks said.
Brooks said he looks for the campus to soon add Six Sigma Project Management Certification and other certifications based on community industry feedback.
“I will be initiating calls with local industries to see if they need custom training,” he said.
Brooks said Texas Tech also has partnerships with area community colleges such as Kilgore and Panola Colleges for its “Two Plus Two” program which allows the student to transfer to Texas Tech after community college to finish the last two years on a bachelor’s program degree at one of it’s regional sites. Brooks said the closest regional Texas Tech site to East Texas is in Rockwall.
The Jefferson location will also offer its TTUK12 program to East Texas area school districts.
“Our K12 program provides Texas Education Agency certified curriculum to districts and I’ll be meeting with area school districts to discuss what products we have,” Brooks said. “We offer full online and supplemental K-12 courses. We also work with home school students and we offer course by exam, which allows a student to take an exam for course credit, for instance, if you have a native Spanish speaking student, they can take a course by exam course for Spanish and if they pass the exam, they receive credit for the course to graduate. We’re not trying to take the place of the school district, just offer tools to help them.”
Brooks said the K12 program is ideal for students falling behind and needing to catch up on a couple of courses, or for students looking to get ahead by taking courses online.
“We can be a great resource for school districts,” Brooks said.
The Jefferson location will also have a Texas Tech OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) Chapter by the Osher Foundation.
“There are several hundred OLLI Chapters across the U.S.,” Brooks said. “These are community based learning courses that participants can complete in a weekend, for example, a beer making class or a local advertising course, and we will be starting that on the weekends. For Jefferson, as a tourist town, these will be great because OLLI Chapter members can participate in any chapter, all across the U.S. so if if a member is in Jefferson visiting for the weekend, they can participate in a course.”
Brooks said the Jefferson campus’ long term goal is to become a Texas Tech University regional site but for now they are a professional development site focusing on professional certifications.
Brooks has an office on site at the Jeffersonian Institute and said he is now available for advising meeting with potential students.
“We opened on May 4 and we are now open for advising,” he said. “Our first coding class begins in October and we are already getting a lot of response and questions about coding so I expect it to fill up fast. We also have been heavily marketing to Barksdale Airforce Base.”
Potential students interested in scheduling a meeting with Brooks for advising, can contact him at email@example.com or by calling 806-834-1909.
“Texas Tech is excited to establish a presence in East Texas,” Melanie Hart, vice provost of eLearning and Academic Partnerships said. “Texas Tech’s offerings at the Jeffersonian Institute will provide educational opportunities for individuals in the area through a variety of classes for individuals of all ages.”
Companies interested in discussing custom training needs by Texas Tech can also call Brooks to set up an on-site meeting.
The Texas Tech Office of Professional Education and Academic Advising inside the Jeffersonian Institute is located at 120 E. Austin St. in Jefferson. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.