TSTC Program to Change Degree Format, Offer Scholarships this Fall

(ABILENE) – A technical program at Texas State Technical College in Abilene will undergo a name change and bring with it an opportunity for students to earn scholarships this fall.

The Computer Aided Drafting program will be changed to Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology and convert to an online associate degree plan. The change is aimed at preparing students in parametric modeling and design, mechanical drafting, residential architectural drafting, topographical drafting and other skills.

“With this new associate degree, we will be more specialized,” said Justin Price, an instructor in the Computer Aided Drafting program at TSTC in Abilene. “We will focus more on architecture and engineering.”

Price said the name change will make it easier to explain to potential students what fields can be pursued with the associate degree. Some of the careers are in architectural, civil and mechanical drafting. He said program graduates have been hired in Abilene, Dallas, Fort Worth, Midland and Odessa.

“Our industry partners told us what we should be teaching our students for mechanical, architectural, piping and civil drafting,” said David Campos, TSTC’s statewide Architecture and Drafting Division director. “They responded to our call and said, ‘We hire your students, and it would be nice in the future if you started teaching this.’ We ended up adding a few more classes because technology changes so much.”

The program has received a $50,000 Fast Start IV grant from the Texas Workforce Commission. The money will supply $5,000 scholarships to 10 students enrolled in the online component of the Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology this fall at TSTC in Abilene. To be eligible for the scholarship, students in the program must take 12 or more semester credit hours, demonstrate financial need and write an essay on a topic relevant to architecture or engineering.

The application and essay deadline for the scholarship is July 2.

“We have identified a lot of potential students that are working in the industry that either are lacking one, two, three classes that can get the degree or maybe they are doing a different type of work in the industry,” Campos said. “By taking these courses online, they can move up the ladder.”

This fall’s program name and curriculum change will also occur at TSTC in Brownwood and Sweetwater. Students now enrolled in the Computer Aided Drafting program can complete their degree in the current hybrid format.

Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology will be part of TSTC Online, a group of technical programs that students can learn online. The other online programs include Business Management Technology, Cyber Security, Digital Media Design and Health Information Technology.

“The growth in TSTC Online programs has come in response to student demand for availability, flexibility and convenience,” said Gina Cano-Monreal, TSTC’s associate vice president for online learning. “Faculty developing courses for TSTC Online programs are the same faculty that teach our quality face-to-face courses. They work extremely hard to develop engaging courses that give our online students a positive learning environment and the sense of community we want all of our TSTC students to experience.”

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.