Division of Outreach & Distance Education Officially a College

Organizers look to expand Texas Tech's teaching capacity by offering more distance education.

Officials at Texas Tech University recently announced the establishment of the College of Outreach & Distance Education. The new college will seek to offer more education options that reach more students than ever before. Under the leadership of Dean Matt Baker, the existing Division of Off-Campus Sites (DOCS) and the Division of Outreach & Distance Education (ODE) have been brought together to form the new college. Baker said he is looking forward to what lies ahead. "The most exciting thing is that we now have the ability to increase students' access to Texas Tech's world-class educational opportunities, no matter where those students reside," Baker said. "Our programs are available to students in K-12 all the way to doctoral students and even lifelong learners." The new college will enable Texas Tech University to plan, implement, administer and assess distance and off-campus programs more efficiently and effectively. The college will aid the university in reaching its goal of 40,000 students by the year 2020. Texas Tech University currently offers more than 30 off-campus programs. At present, ODE offers K-12 and college distance learning, which includes an accredited K-12 diploma-granting program - Texas Tech University Independent School District (TTUISD). The K-12 program is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S.  ODE offers non-credit community outreach programs for K-12 students and adults, academic outreach programs for professionals in the form of short courses, certificate programs and conferences. It also hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). DOCS currently coordinates credit and non-credit programs offered through Texas Tech University at Abilene, Amarillo, El Paso, Fredericksburg, Highland Lakes and Junction. Texas Tech has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as being both a "Community-Engaged" university and a "Doctoral-Research-Extensive" university. As the largest comprehensive university in the western two-thirds of the state, with a land mass larger than 46 of the 50 states in the U.S., this region is underserved in terms of geographic access to higher education academic and outreach programs. "As an engaged university, we have an obligation to provide transformational leadership in economic development," Baker said, "And economic development is possible only by having a highly educated workforce." Baker said goals for the new college include offering a larger array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, continuing education programs designed to improve the quality of life of participants and continuing education that will retool a workforce that is in constant transition. In 2009, TTUISD is poised to launch a Virtual High School where students will be assigned avatars that allow them to interact with other students and instructors in a learning community designed by faculty, staff and students at Texas Tech. CONTACT: Michele Moskos, marketing director, College of Outreach and Distance Education, (806)742-7202 ext. 276 or michele.moskos@ttu.edu.