Transformation - 2008 President's Report

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The Urgency of Now - 2008 President's Report

Real-World Focus Sparks Major Growth at Fort Worth Center

Students in Forth Worth Center classroom

High-tech classrooms and high-quality programs draw students to the Fort Worth Center's convenient downtown location.

Enrollment has increased 20 percent since the Fort Worth Center moved downtown to the historic Sante Fe Freight Building. Overall enrollment has more than doubled since 2003.

The UT Arlington Fort Worth Center is quickly weaving its educational fiber into the business fabric of North Texas.

Just ask Robert Earley, interim CEO at JPS Health Network and a Fort Worth Center student.

Health care is so dynamic, he said. What sets the Fort Worth Center apart is that it provides a great balance of academics and reality. You can't always find the answer on page 222 of Chapter 10.

Earley, who is pursuing a master's degree in health care administration, praised the cohort system where colleagues—many of them working professionals—feed off each other's experiences, thus gaining practical know-how as well as book knowledge.

That real-world allure has translated into a 20 percent enrollment increase since the center moved into its current home in downtown Fort Worth in spring 2007. Since 2003, overall enrollment has skyrocketed from 596 to 1,288.

The center also has expanded its program base, starting master's degrees in information systems and in public administration. Other offerings include an Executive MBA, Professional MBA, and graduate programs in systems engineering and educational leadership.

Shaunda Dixon completed the Professional MBA program at the Fort Worth Center. She already had a job as finance manager for Ryder Integrated Logistics but wanted to advance her career with a graduate degree.

She echoes Earley's sentiments about the center's strengths.

The sharing of knowledge from different industries provided by my classmates was invaluable, said Dixon, who controls the transportation costs for a major beverage manufacturer. I have already benefited from my MBA.

Perhaps the strongest signal the Fort Worth Center has become a fixture in downtown Cowtown is its community ties. Located in the historic Santa Fe Freight Building, it has hosted meetings and retreats for Van Cliburn, Fort Worth Opera, Vision North Texas, Leadership Fort Worth, Fort Worth Chamber, Rotary Fort Worth, Galvin Clinic, Fort Worth Symphony and Fort Worth Sister Cities. Criminal justice organizations also use the facility for major research and training conferences.

The Fort Worth Center continues to focus on the future with its math and science retreat for select Riverside Middle School students. It recently hosted another group of Fort Worth high school and middle school students who are persevering and have overcome obstacles. The retreat provided college information and resources for the students and honored their successes.