TJC approves new four-year degree, employee raises

Published on Thursday, 27 July 2017 22:58 - Written by CORY MCCOY,

Tyler Junior College has begun the process of adding its second bachelor’s degree.

The board of trustees on Thursday voted unanimously to start putting together a degree plan for a Bachelor of Applied Technology degree in Healthcare Technologies and Medical Systems.

After a lengthy approval process for the college’s first bachelor level program, a Bachelor of Science Dental Hygiene program, the college can now create additional four-year degrees.

The degree will focus on the software systems and technology involved in running a hospital and other health-focused businesses, Dean of Curriculum and Compliance Dr. Lisa Harper said.

“Today the board gave us a green light to proceed,” Provost Juan Mejia said. “We’re committed to remaining a world class junior college.”

Mejia said the decision came from looking at what programs are needed by the industry and region that are not being offered by the regional four-year colleges. He also said the school has no plans to become a full four-year university.

The school hopes the degree will act as a bridge toward graduate level degrees offered by UT Health Northeast and The University of Texas at Tyler.

Mejia pointed to UT Tyler’s Masters in healthcare administration and UT Health Northeast’s new masters in public health.

“Those collaborative partnerships are what sets us apart in East Texas,” Harper said.

Harper said the degree plan will focus on the operational aspect of the industry and open pathways to a wide range of careers in technology and management.

Harper said she expects to have a curriculum outlined by early October, with the program aiming for a fall 2018 launch.

In other business:

The college approved salary increases for the 2017-18 year. Employees will receive an across the board raise of $600 plus 1 percent of their annual salary. Additionally, the school will increase its alternative retirement matching program by 1 percent.

President Mike Metke said he hopes to be able to move forward with additional raises in the spring if enrollment increases continue. The spring raises would be contingent upon enrollment increases starting at 1 percent and moving up to 3 percent if enrollment increases by 3.5 percent or more.

Twitter: @TMT_Cory