The idea of changing TJC’s name is a confusing idea to some and a good idea to others.
The mascot will still be a fierce, strong and intelligent Apache Indian. The students will still be the same, and the professors will be just as caring. The possible name change does not stop the students from achieving their goals in an arena that they apply themselves in, but there is something nice about the familiarity of the same old, same old.
Dr. L. Michael Metke, TJC Chancellor and CEO, stated in his mass email to over 22,000 people, “Tyler Junior College (TJC), founded in 1926, has evolved into a comprehensive community college, serving more than 12,000 students. Our offerings have grown to include workforce training degrees and certificates, community service programs, continuing education offerings, academic transfer programs and more recently, in 2017, TJC began offering its first bachelor’s degree.”
No one denies that TJC is growing and making new goals for itself. TJC is offering more opportunities to students of today and the future. With that growth comes responsibilities.
Metke said that “TJC’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), does not require a name change in order to award baccalaureate degrees. SACSCOC does require that TJC demonstrate, with data, that students are not disadvantaged in reaching their career and educational goals if the college’s name does not reflect its programs, graduates or mission.”
Dr. Metke goes on to say that “A junior college historically signifies that the college offers the first two years of study with the goal of transferring the coursework to a four-year college or university. SACSCOC recommended TJC conduct a research study to assess the impact of our name and whether it remains descriptive of what our graduates have learned or if it hinders graduates in their future endeavors.”
What an amazing time for TJC to think about what direction they want to take for the students of today and tomorrow. TJC has partnered with Trellis Company, a third-party research group, to survey the students, Alumni, faculty, and stakeholders from Nov. 1-25. It was a short eight to ten-minute survey which gave the person the opportunity to state their own opinions on the issues of the word “Junior” and the effect it has on the school and students. All responses are held confidential and will only be presented in aggregate.
Before anything can really change a lot of thought has to go into this decision, for example, the cost, new logo, and labor behind it all. A visual communication major, Colby Jackson stated ” I am first generation student and this is my first year here at TJC. I am for the name change of TJC, but it has to be done in a classy way. I am excited to see what direction the school will go while I am here and when I am gone. I didn’t come to TJC for the name, I came for the campus and professors.”
In an interview with Dr. Metke, he stated “1994 was the first start of TJC’s name change. The school offered a similar survey to students.” So, this is not a new idea. Dr. Metke also said, “I love the 92-year history, what TJC means and what it has become, but we have gotten out of what a typical Junior college would do.”
Whatever direction the school takes in this name change it won’t change the fact that we are Apache Strong.