The two institutions are partnering to allow Austin College undergraduate students to “fast track” a master’s degree from Texas Tech, as well as Texas Tech agreeing to conduct courses on the Austin College campus.
Texas Tech University and Austin College signed two memorandums of understanding today (Oct. 17) to solidify academic and facilities agreements between the two institutions.
The academic agreement creates a pathway from Austin College to Texas Tech's Lubbock campus. Undergraduate students enrolled in Austin College can "fast track" their graduate degree, which will be completed through Texas Tech's Graduate School.
Courses taken as part of the graduate curriculum, or as leveling courses for that curriculum, can be counted toward both the student's undergraduate degree at Austin College and the student's graduate degree at Texas Tech. Thus, when the student graduates from Austin College, he or she will have completed some of the coursework required for a graduate degree at Texas Tech.
"This partnership with Austin College will afford students at this outstanding college and in the surrounding area the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree from Texas Tech University," said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech president. "Students in this program will have access to resources on the Austin College campus and the shared expertise of faculty and staff from both institutions who share the common vision of enhancing opportunities for students and addressing the educational needs of the region."
The facilities agreement allows Texas Tech graduate courses to be conducted on the Austin College campus, effectively establishing a regional teaching site in Sherman. It also lays out the parameters and responsibilities by each institution for office space, infrastructure and classroom usage.
"This innovative partnership between Austin College and Texas Tech University, two of the finest institutions in Texas, ushers in a new era of collaboration in higher education," said Austin College President Steven O'Day. "Bringing together, in one place, the extraordinary Austin College undergraduate experience with a top-quality graduate degree from Texas Tech University is a concept that speaks to the needs of today's students in Texas and around the nation. The opportunity for students to pursue this educational pathway in an uninterrupted and accelerated fashion makes this truly remarkable and valuable. We are excited to be on the leading edge of higher education innovation with our friends at Texas Tech and are already looking forward to exploring new program offerings in the future."
Currently, three master's degree programs are in the works to be offered at Austin College: technical communication and public administration, through the College of Arts & Sciences, and mass communication through the College of Media & Communication. An MBA program may be established at a later date.
"This agreement builds upon Austin College's ongoing relationship with Texas Tech by creating additional graduate pathways for qualified Austin College students and alumni to enroll in and graduate from high-quality Texas Tech graduate programs," said Beth Gill, Austin College vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty. "Students will have the opportunity to accelerate both the undergraduate and graduate degrees, often without leaving campus. The first program slated for implementation will allow Texas Tech to offer a Master of Arts in mass communications on our campus, providing our students with a seamless continuum of opportunities to further ensure their future success."