New name in store for Technical Center?
Change would reflect evolution from training school to academic emphasis

Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

July 23, 2004 -- What's in a name? A lot of things, according to Dr. Pamela Anglin, president of Paris Junior College, who met with the board of directors of Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation this week to discuss changing the name of Sulphur Springs Technical Center.

Dr. Anglin told board members that educational concepts have changed over the past decade, and business and industry, as well as students, are looking more at academic courses.

"As we've evolved over the years, we are actually doing more and more academic, transferable courses than we are the technical courses," she explained. "Of course, we are still doing those [technical training] courses and have even added more, but more of the students we are seeing in Sulphur Springs are interested in academic transfer courses."

Paris Junior College's interest in changing the name of the technical center includes adopting a name that would more closely link the Sulphur Springs campus with the name of PJC to better emphasize the accreditation of the school and the transferability of credit to other educational institutions.

"One of the things I have been concerned about is that when they see Sulphur Springs Technical Center, there is a question about whether the classes are from an accredited institution, are they transferable?" Dr. Anglin said. "So, that started me thinking ... if there was more of a direct link to Paris Junior College's name with the Sulphur Springs Technical Center, then students would more easily see that it is a course taken from an accredited institution and would be transferable to other institutions."

Dr. Anglin said it would seem desirable to take "Technical" out of the name.

"Make it Sulphur Springs Center-Paris Junior College, to where there is a direct link to the college," she said.

Dr. Anglin also said she felt the name change would benefit economic development and growth in Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County.

After hearing the suggestion to consider the name change, EDC directors indicated they would think about the idea.

"We wanted to consider further any type of name change that would be mutually advantageous," said EDC board chairman Carl Bryan. "It would help our community, and certainly our goals as EDC members, and at the same time accommodate the desires and needs of the school. We certainly would like to do that."

If the EDC board can be convinced the name change would benefit economic growth, Bryan said, the board would be receptive.

"If we can do something that would help then and, at the same time, continue to provide the needs and services that we need as the EDC, then we would certainly entertain anything they might suggest along those lines as long as we can achieve the goals that both of us desire," Bryan said.

Dr. Anglin said President George Bush has proposed setting aside $250 million next year in federal funds for training at community colleges with partnerships with local industries.

Paris Junior College was accredited by the State Department of Education in 1924, and in 1932 it became a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and was one of the first five 2-year colleges accredited by the Southern Association.

Paris Junior College has the significance of being the oldest 2-year college in Texas still operating under its same name and charter since its inception.

When the college first began holding classes in Sulphur Springs, the only studies offered were vocational courses. When the Texas Legislature identified specific service areas for all 50 Texas community colleges in 1995 and the need for an expanded curriculum became apparent in Sulphur Springs, PJC was then authorized to offer both academic and vocational courses at off-campus locations.

Today at the Sulphur Springs campus, approximately 80 percent of the students are enrolled in academic transfer programs, and 20 percent are enrolled in vocational/technical programs.

Enrollment in the Paris Junior College system has grown continuously during the last decade, setting records each fall. Fall 2003 registration reached 4,077 throughout the PJC system, with Sulphur Springs enrollment at 595 students. In 1999, the PJC system had 2,894 students, including 385 in Sulphur Springs.

The Sulphur Springs campus has seven full-time and 38 part-time faculty and staff.

Paris Junior College offers associate in arts, associate in science and associate in applied science degrees, as well as certificates of completion in technical/vocational fields.

Students at at the Sulphur Springs Technical Center can complete an associate degree or a certificate on the local campus.

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