Tarrant County College is proud to announce that its dedicated online campus, TCC Connect, has been admitted to the prestigious American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Institute on Digital Equity. This notable institute facilitates a seven-month online program aimed at fortifying the efforts of educational teams who strive to propagate digital equity within their campuses, regional communities, and even state-wide.
TCC Connect President Carlos Morales said, “Our induction into the AAC&U Institute on Digital Equity is both an opportunity and an acknowledgment. We are primed to hone our digital offerings and share our milestones in bridging educational digital divides. This recognition reiterates the growing importance of comprehensive digital education.”
TCC Connect’s acceptance followed an intensive application procedure that resonated with the institute’s goals. From a state perspective, the recent Texas House Bill 8 has shifted the emphasis from traditional success metrics to student completion rates. Statistics indicate that less than 41% of community college entrants achieve a bachelor’s degree, with first-generation students grappling with further impediments. Tackling these digital disparities is indispensable for student success.
Institutionally, Tarrant County College champions three principal objectives: fostering a conducive student experience, community engagement, and unified college operations. These tenets resonate with the ethos of digital equity. Furthermore, the institution’s recent benchmarks centered on student recruitment, retention, and successful course completion underscore the urgency of accessible digital courses.
On the individual campus front, TCC Connect recently unveiled an annual work plan, crafted in July 2023, spotlighting 24 pivotal digital equity initiatives.
The Institute’s journey began with a two-day inauguration on September 28 and 29 and will culminate in a reflection event in April 2024. During the Institute, an eight-member team from TCC Connect, encompassing diverse stakeholders, will collaboratively operate under the guidance of a renowned digital equity expert. A strategic action plan is slated for unveiling this autumn, with phased deployment anticipated in early 2024.
Kristen Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., the campus team leader and project manager, elucidated, “Since its inception in 2014, TCC Connect has ardently addressed the digital divide. Our consistent growth and innovative endeavors, such as complimentary lab kits for online science enthusiasts and the integration of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in digital courses, signify our commitment. However, the horizon offers more, and we are eager to evolve, ensuring every digital learner at our campus realizes their academic aspirations.”