New majors and population growth in Johnson County have boosted enrollment for Texas Tech’s Hill College campus.
When Texas Tech University partnered with Hill College to begin offering bachelor's degrees in Johnson County in 2016, the goal was to ensure a pathway for students at Hill College to continue their education and remain in their community. While the pandemic slowed enrollment rates, the spring semester has brought a renewed interest in attending Texas Tech University at Hill College.
“The success of our partnership begins with the success of our students,” said Lewis Snell, director of Texas Tech at Hill College. “We want to create an atmosphere of success and provide the resources for our students to complete their bachelor's degrees with limited or no debt and with support from our local administrative team and those in Lubbock.”
After completing her associate degree at Hill College, alumna Shelbi Raetz was ready to pursue her bachelor's degree, but as a non-traditional student with a full-time job, she was hesitant to move out of Johnson County to continue her education.
“Luckily, I had a wonderful advisor who helped me explore my options,” Raetz said. “Texas Tech at Hill College captured my interest because it was a natural transition, had small classes that suited my learning style and would offer me an alumni base of one of the biggest universities in Texas.”
The advising teams at Hill College and Texas Tech strive to make the transition from community college to university as smooth as possible. After completing their core curriculum requirements at Hill College, students may enroll at Texas Tech for their upper-level courses, some of which are taught virtually by professors in Lubbock while others are taught on-site at Hill College.
Raetz said her favorite course taught her the art of the interview – something that will benefit her for the rest of her career.
“Professor Moultry's interviewing course was by far the most valuable class I took during my time at Texas Tech,” Raetz said. “I am so glad I took this class at the end of my journey because the skills were invaluable to my job hunt upon graduation. I learned valuable interviewing lessons, resume preparation and overall leadership tips that I will carry forever. Without this course, I may not have been able to secure the position I hold currently. Professor Moultry gives her students so much confidence and positivity. I felt like I understood my value more after my time with her because she truly believes in all her students.”
Texas Tech at Hill College offers 14 bachelor's degrees, and is continually evaluating the need for additional programs. The most popular major to date is general studies, which allows students to select three areas of emphasis and design a major that fits their personal life and career goals.
“My experience completing my bachelor's degree was fantastic,” said Kelly Duddington, who is now pursuing a terminal degree from Texas Tech. “I am so thankful I had the opportunity to be enrolled at Texas Tech. I found the courses challenging but interesting, and I gained an immense amount of knowledge while attending Texas Tech. I am proud to say that I worked full-time while being a mother and wife and still went to school full-time and obtained my bachelor's degree. It's doable and so worth it.”
“I loved taking Dr. Hayhoe's Global Weirding class,” Duddington said. “She is a great professor and keeps things very entertaining. I'm actually taking a graduate course of hers at the moment too.”
With the expansion of degree options at Texas Tech at Hill College, students have more opportunities to select majors tailored to their career objectives.
“It is incredibly important to me to make sure that I am really sitting down and working through my students' career goals with them,” said Raelin Randall, an academic advisor at Texas Tech at Hill College. “Once the student expresses their goals and interests, then we go through degree options that best suit their goals, timeline and life. Texas Tech has recently expanded those degree options by including early childhood education and technical communication.”
The College of Education has hired a site coordinator and is partnering with Burleson Independent School District (BISD) to offer bachelor's degrees that allow students to complete their teacher certification concurrently with their undergraduate coursework. The first cohort of students will begin this fall.
In addition to new degree programs and increased student success, Texas Tech at Hill College will join Hill College and Burleson ISD in moving to the new Burleson Center in 2023, allowing for further collaboration and growth of the program. Texas Tech's Hill College campus now offers a site coordinator, academic advisor and admission counselor dedicated to the Hill College partnership.
With additional programs, a new location and advisors in place to help students realize their academic ambitions, Texas Tech is looking forward to continued success in Johnson County and beyond.
“With the convenience of being able to take classes online and the reputation and respect of Texas Tech, I really love being able to say that I'm a student at this school,” Duddington said.