The UT Arlington Division of Continuing Education has changed its name to the Division for Enterprise Development. Former Director Teresea Madden-Thompson has been promoted to assistant vice president, and she recently spoke with UT Arlington Magazine.
Why the name change?
The division was rapidly growing in areas that would not be traditionally called “continuing education.” Organizational and work force development, consulting, regulatory compliance assistance and professional credentials represented about 80 percent of the services we were providing. The division needed a name that would reflect its product line and an umbrella organization that would allow for new programs that would serve the community and the state of Texas.
How has the division grown?
The budget has increased 500 percent, course offerings have tripled in some disciplines, and we are introducing new programs every quarter. Conversely, we have eliminated some programs and reduced some course offerings. The division has become very responsive to a dynamic market. Our customers are looking for relevant information delivered at their convenience. It is imperative that we respond to their rapidly changing, lifelong learning needs.
What are some of the most popular offerings?
We provide a lot of customized leadership training for our corporate and public sector customers. In many cases we’ve been able to assist organizations in writing and receiving work force development grants. We are also integrating training products from business units across campus. For example, we have worked with TMAC (Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center) to assist organizations with process improvement through integrated training and consulting. High-demand occupations such as health care certification are not only popular but critical. These products help our constituency build careers and address critical shortages in health care fields.
What environmental and safety programs do you have?
We ran a pilot for the UT System on contractor safety at the Maverick Activities Center. We have several DOL OSHA (Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration) alliances that foster partnerships with the regulatory agencies and local and state employers. We have numerous contracts and grants with the EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that are very exciting. These programs help the nation and our state maintain air and water quality. One of the larger ones is the Local Air Program in Houston.
What about community enrichment programs?
Our language training programs are always popular, as are our creative courses such as soap making, wedding planning (also a popular career) and wine appreciation. One of my favorite experiences occurred when I was attending a formal business meeting, and one of the executives just raved about how much he and his wife enjoyed one of our piano courses. They were looking for something fun to do together, something that would relieve a little stress.
Talk about your work with the Texas Department of Transportation.
TxDOT is a special customer and partner to the University. We began working with its training programs almost three years ago, but the University has provided services to TxDOT for years. The program is training logistics at its finest. We literally have an army of instructors and subject matter experts who travel to every corner of the state providing training and assistance. It’s a great example of two state agencies working in tandem to serve the citizens of Texas. A UT Arlington graduate serves as the TxDOT district engineer in Houston.
Do you offer discounts for UT Arlington alumni?
You bet. Once a Maverick, always a Maverick. Alumni receive a 10 percent discount on most continuing education programs when they identify that special distinction at the time of enrollment.
Is it true that you now have offices in Houston and Austin?
We are committed to supporting customers, and it’s much more cost effective to establish offices where services are required. We have established an office in Houston with five employees who support the TCEQ’s Local Air Program. In Austin we share office space with TMAC and support three employees who are working on EPA pollution prevention programs and TCEQ and TxDOT initiatives.
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