Graduate Students Find Convenience, Accessibility at WTAMU's Amarillo Center

Nov 03, 2010
  • Graduate
COPY BY:     Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129,


CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s Amarillo Center hits the mark when it comes to convenience and accessibility—especially for students completing master’s degree programs.

In fact, WTAMU graduate students working on a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Education in counseling or a Master of Art in counseling can complete their entire degree program at the Amarillo Center. And that is an added benefit for many WTAMU students.

"It’s really been a positive experience for me to be able to take my classes in the counseling program at the campus in Amarillo," Kathie Greer, a graduate student in the counseling education program from Amarillo, said. "The facility is great, and the convenience and ease of getting to class have been especially important to me."

The Amarillo Center opened for classes in fall 2008, but the process of establishing the facility 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 overwhelmingly positive and suggested a downtown Amarillo location.

Since its opening, enrollment and course offerings at the Amarillo Center have steadily increased along with the floor space. In response to the Amarillo Center’s continued growth, The Texas A&M University Board of Regents granted WTAMU authorization in July 2009 to offer the three master’s degree programs at the Amarillo Center.

"Since we’ve opened the doors, the response to the Amarillo Center has been overwhelming, and adding programs is a natural progression after the success and support we’ve received from the community," Dr. Wade Shaffer, associate provost for academic affairs, said. "Our goal is to allow our students to complete their coursework at the Amarillo Center without having to come to the Canyon campus. We are glad we can offer this because so many of these students work full time and that makes the convenience and the accessibility of the Amarillo Center even more important to them. "

WTAMU faculty members are well aware that many of their students juggle work schedules and class time. That’s why the College of Business offers business courses on campus, online and at the Amarillo Center, and students take advantage of all three options, including the convenience of the Amarillo Center.

"Many students work full-time jobs or are involved with internships in Amarillo, and the option of completing courses at the Amarillo Center has really helped these students manage work schedules combined with the goal of degree completion," Dr. Neil Terry, dean of the College of Business, said. "The central location of the Amarillo Center provides a great opportunity to easily bring guest speakers into the classroom and add an applied perspective that enriches our courses."

The three degree programs—Master of Business Administration, Master of Education in counseling or Master of Art in counseling—can all be completed at the Amarillo Center, and the counseling education faculty offices can also be found at the downtown facility. That is how Tiffany Laur, a graduate student in the counseling education program from Amarillo, prefers it.

"The Amarillo Center elicits a higher sense of professionalism for graduate students," she said. "Our new clinical training lab is a vital resource for learning and since the move from the Canyon campus, it feels as if the counseling program has finally been recognized as valid and having unique needs."

In addition to the three master’s degree completion programs, the Amarillo Center also offers convenience and accessibility to students working on baccalaureate degree programs in sociology, social work, interdisciplinary studies with teacher certification, business administration, general studies, nursing, criminal justice and political science. For more information about the Amarillo Center and its course offerings, visit