Texas Border Business
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted colleges and universities worldwide, but Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) has earned a top tier ranking for its response during these challenging times.
The 2020 Educate to Career (ETC) College ranking placed TAMIU in Tier I for colleges and universities that have responded to the pandemic in ways that benefit and protect students, especially in terms of available online learning resources. Some 1200 colleges across the nation were reviewed.
According to the site, “With the COVID crisis everything has changed regarding college selection criteria. With our new rankings system, a ‘distance learning’ component is mandatory for a high ranking simply because there is a real possibility that at least some instruction will be done via the Internet. Schools that have systems and experience in distance learning, with a campus to support in-classroom teaching have the right formula for today. And factoring in that the U.S. is now in the midst of a deep recession, tuition is also a primary consideration.”
TAMIU President Dr. Pablo Arenaz said the ranking is an affirmation of both the University’s mission and commitment to students.
“Clearly, our first commitment throughout our COVID-19 response is to the safety of our University community of students, faculty and staff. But we had to very quickly identify and deploy tools that would also enable us to continue to deliver with high quality, our essential mission of higher education. Fortunately, we have a robust history of online course delivery that spans over 16 years. Coupled with a strong IT backbone, a gifted and committed faculty, top-notch instructional design team and a commitment to the industry standard of Quality Matters online course certification, we were able to ensure that students could complete their Spring semester and beyond as needed. It is this history and dedication by our University staff and faculty that has made this ranking real,” Dr. Arenaz explained.
He noted that in addition to the timely transition to the online Virtual Classroom, the University also quickly made expected student services and resources available online and launched a dedicated online COVID-19 information website on Feb. 1, 2020.
“We had to simultaneously ensure that there was no interruption of a broad range of services and resource provisions for students. Our Athletics Department still needed to provide training and support. Student Health Services and Student Counseling and Disabilities Services still needed to offer appointments and online services. Even our REC Sports offerings, despite mandatory closing in accordance with COVID-19 federal and state guidelines, continued with programming and training provided virtually to students. Library services and computer lab access continued. Our Food Pantry continues to serve students. Throughout this challenge, the campus has remained open to provide services for all enrolled students,” Arenaz added.
“To date, TAMIU has also disbursed over $1,124,500 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students through the TAMIU CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). TAMIU CARES and other dedicated funds will provide just over $5.1 million in emergency grants to TAMIU students by the end of the Fall semester. Of this, 92%, or $4,750,878, are federal funds while the remaining 8%, or $394,000, is from non-governmental sources. TAMIU also structured its Summer fee schedule to continue to provide all services expected and needed by students,” he said.
Institutions included in ETC’s Tier 1 must have systems in place to deliver full curriculum online and in-classroom, with a minimum of three years of experience in delivering online curriculum. In addition, ranked Tier 1 campuses must have:
- A physical campus for in-classroom instruction should the health authorities allow colleges to open in September
- Robust software and systems to support distance learning programs
- Faculty experience in teaching online
- Reasonable tuitions and fees on a relative basis.
To review TAMIU’s Tier One ranking and that of other Texas A&M University System campuses, go to: https://www.jobsearchintelligence.com/etc/college-rankings-2020-update/schools.php
The online Summer Session at TAMIU began Monday. Registration for Fall 2020 is now underway. An online catalog containing a list of all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs is at http://catalog.tamiu.edu
As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TAMIU’s campus is closed only to the general public. Campus entry continues for students, faculty, staff and those having legitimate reasons to be on campus. Online and virtual services at the University continue, practicing all CDC Guidelines on gathering, face-covering and social distancing and with staff working remotely. Office hours are subject to change and it is recommended that phone or email contact be made first to determine the office’s schedule of operation. An online directory is here.
The University’s dedicated COVID-19 website is updated regularly and includes information on office schedules and services, an expansive FAQ, quick links, student resources, official information links and much more.
Founded in 2013, ETC is a nonprofit organization and a leading resource for educational attainment, outcomes-based personalized college and career planning, and related financial planning, data and programs in the U.S.