A new college at Texas Tech goes beyond the boundaries of the university's campus -- or any buildings for that matter.

The new Tech College of Outreach and Distance Education, which was created earlier this month, is the consolidation of the Division of Off-Campus Sites and the Division of Outreach and Distance Education. The consolidation and formation of the college was organized by former Provost Bill Marcy, former President Jon Whitmore and Chancellor Kent Hance, said Matt Baker, dean of the college.

"It just makes more sense to work together," he said. "Obviously, we are saving money marketing our divisions together, and communication between the two departments is much easier."

The new college oversees Tech's off-campus sites in Abilene, Amarillo, El Paso, Fredericksburg, Highland Lakes and Junction as well as Tech's correspondence college courses. The Tech Independent School District, a kindergarten through 12th grade distance education program, now is under the authority of the new college. The TTISD is an accredited school district offering courses by correspondence.

Currently, Baker said, there are 60,000 students across the world enrolled in TTISD courses and 1,400 are enrolled full-time.

"Texas Tech has a huge, mostly rural community to reach out towards," he said. "This land mass is larger than 46 out of the 50 states. Our goal is to help the university grow by taking the university out to the communities of West Texas."

Baker said the college is dedicated to aiding Tech's plan to have 40,000 students by 2020 by recruiting young students through its TTISD credit programs and one-day informative non-credit courses offered in West Texas communities.

In addition to serving students, the college offers non-credit courses for adults. These courses include mostly one-day clinics in professional fields and informative courses for people interested in a field of study headed by Tech professors in West Texas communities, he said.

Baker said the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has ranked Tech as a "First Tier Doctoral and Research University" and recognized Tech as the only "Community Involved" university in the state of Texas.

Michelle Moskos, marketing director of the College of Outreach & Distance Education, said none of the courses offered by the college's programs will be altered or cancelled due to the consolidation and more courses may be offered in the future.

Baker has a rich history in education and with Tech, he said. He studied at Tech in 1979 with a bachelor's degree and earned his master's degree in educational administration in 1986. He taught agriculture at Idalou High School from 1983 to 1987 before teaching at Ohio State University, California State Polytechnic University and the University of Florida before returning to Tech in 2000. In 2002, he was awarded the chair of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications before being named dean of the College of Outreach & Distance Education, according to the College of Outreach & Distance Education's Web site.

"We're delighted to have the opportunity to start operations at the beginning of the Guy Bailey era," Baker said. "We look forward to working with him and Provost Jane Winer and leading Tech into the future."

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