South Texas College and Tyler Junior College sign inaugural articulation agreement
Collaboration between the two legacy institutions bound to set precedent for all community colleges statewide
A new partnership between South Texas College (STC) and Tyler Junior College will go a long way in determining how other community colleges in Texas begin to explore opportunities for bachelor’s degrees.
Administrators from STC and TJC signed their first ever articulation agreement on Thursday, March 1, which involves a “teach-out” arrangement between the two institutions, determining transfer opportunities for students receiving a baccalaureate degree.
“When you submit a proposal for a baccalaureate degree to the Coordinating Board, you are required to have what is called a teach-out agreement with a university in the event something goes wrong and the students can not finish the program,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed. “The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires that teach-out agreements be with a university, but we are saying ‘why does it have to be a university? Why can’t it be a fellow community college?’”
Generally defined, an articulation agreement between two institutions describes how courses are going to transfer. The agreement between STC and TJC marks a historic first between two of the four legacy colleges in Texas, which are community colleges that have the authority to award bachelor’s degrees to students.
“We are looking at two world-class and premier institutions of higher learning. Therefore, I believe that we are much more similar in the way we see student success,” said Dr. Juan E. Mejia, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Tyler Junior College. Dr. Mejia is also a founding member of South Texas College, and aided in its inception in 1988 when the college was still known as Texas State Technical Institute. He was previously Vice President for Academic Affairs at STC.
“It’s a benefit to how we can write the script for all future colleges who will be doing this,” Dr. Mejia said. “South Texas College is the college that is most successful when it comes baccalaureate degrees. Now TJC is the one that will hopefully get our second one this fall semester. What this tells us is how to write a script that will be telling the story of how colleges will do it from here on out. This is very symbolic for us.”