Amarillo Center Continues to Grow
Since its 2008 opening, the West Texas A&M University Amarillo Center has grown by leaps and bounds as far as enrollment and course offerings and now with the fall 2009 semester, the facility can add increased floor space and expanded degree programs to its growth chart.
The Amarillo Center opened its doors in fall 2008, offering 31 upper level classes at its downtown location on the 10th and 11th floors of the Chase Tower. This fall, the Amarillo Center will add the seventh floor to its square footage along with more than 50 course offerings as well as expanded degree programs at both the baccalaureate and master’s degree level.
“The overwhelming response to the Amarillo Center has allowed us to expand in size and degree program offerings in just one short year,” Dr. James Hallmark, provost/vice president for academic affairs, said. “Our students enjoy the convenience and accessibility found at the Amarillo Center, and we hope that these expansions offer them even more in educational opportunities.”
Increased educational opportunities are pretty much guaranteed with the expanded degree program offerings. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents at its July meeting granted authorization for the University to offer completion hours for baccalaureate degree programs at the Amarillo Center beginning with the fall 2009 semester in sociology, social work, interdisciplinary studies with teacher certification, business administration, general studies, nursing, criminal justice and political science as well as complete master’s degree programs in business administration, education in counseling (M.Ed.) and counseling (M.A.).
“These programs fit the needs of many of our students—nursing students attend clinicals in Amarillo, social work students work with West Texas Family and Community Services in downtown Amarillo and criminal justice students get much of their training through Amarillo’s criminal justice system,” Hallmark said. “Offering expanded degree programs in close proximity to these outside teaching sites give our students the best of both worlds.”
The addition of another floor at the Amarillo Center will provide much needed faculty office space. The seventh floor will provide a new home for the WTAMU Department of Education’s counseling program for both the M.A. and M.Ed degrees. Three faculty members and graduate assistants from that area will be housed there, along with Dr. Nancy Cartwright, the John G. O’Brien Distinguished Chair in Education. A.J. Swope, director of Class 4 Winds, also will have an office on the seventh floor.
“We also are moving the transition faculty offices that have been on the 11th floor to the seventh floor,” Hallmark said. “We should have several faculty in our new space at any given time.”
Faculty offices on the 11th floor are being converted to a social sciences observation laboratory with observation rooms and electronic monitoring for classes like counseling and social work. Another large room on the 11th floor is being divided into two for a moderately-sized classroom and one large seminar-type room.
The process of establishing the Amarillo Center started in May 2007 when the University contracted with MGT of America, Inc. to conduct a feasibility study. The firm examined occupational projections, student interests, and employer and community leader opinions and then identified strong potential employment demand. Results of the study were released in February 2008 and suggested a downtown Amarillo location. University officials then secured a location, identified course offerings and opened for business. Since then, class offerings have expanded from just business and education courses to include everything from criminal justice and marketing to history and psychology. For a complete listing of fall classes, visit wtamu.edu/academics/amarillo-center-classes.aspx.