Teaching center approved for Williamson County

Date of release: 04/24/98

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Residents of North Austin and Williamson County will be able to earn college degrees almost in their own back yards, thanks to a plan approved Friday, April 24, by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The board authorized the creation of a multi-institution teaching center (MITC) that will offer degree programs from six colleges and universities at different locations in Williamson County.

Southwest Texas State University, Concordia University, St. Edward’s University, Austin Community College, Temple Junior College and Texas State Technical College will offer coursework leading to associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees beginning in the 1998 fall semester.

SWT will serve as the lead institution in the MITC.

“This is a very important step in SWT’s quest to continuously improve its service to the Austin metropolitan community,” said Robert Gratz, vice president of academic affairs at SWT. “As a statewide university, we will continue to attract students from across Texas. But we have a special mission in the greater Austin area and we are excited about the opportunity this MITC provides to serve this region.”

Classes will be offered at six different locations -- Westwood High School, the Taylor campus of Temple Junior College, ACC’s Cypress Creek Campus, Round Rock High School, Georgetown High School and a new high school to open in Round Rock in the fall of 1998.

Gratz said the formation of the MITC has been a good example of partnership, not only among the six MITC institutions, but also including the campuses that would serve as MITC class sites.

“The greater Austin area is blessed with a wealth of educational resources that are critical to the region. The North Austin/Williamson County MITC provides very tangible evidence that our educational institutions can collaborate to meet critical and growing educational needs,” said Gratz.

Initially the center will offer 21 associate degree programs, two bachelor’s degrees and 11 master’s degrees. SWT will add two master’s programs in the center’s second year and two more in the third year. Enrollment projections indicate that more than 4,000 students will be taking classes at the MITC by 2002.

Students interested in attending the MITC may receive more information by calling the MITC office at (512) 219-5798. Registration for fall classes will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 18 at Weswood High School, 12400 Mellow Meadow Drive.

The center will be financed through tuition and fees. SWT received a $500,000 appropriation from the Texas Legislature for expenses in the first year.

Three such centers have already been established in Texas -- in Montgomery County, Fort Bend and Dallas.