MIDLOTHIAN — The presidents and administrators of Navarro College, Texas A&M-Commerce, Tarleton State University and UNT-Dallas and Midlothian Economic Development representatives met Monday to discuss the set the parameters of the Multi-Institutional Teaching Center (MITC).

One of the orders of business was officially naming the MITC, to now be the Midlothian Higher Education Center (MHEC) at Navarro College.

“We have been marketing the MITC, but there was a need to officially name the teaching center for collective marketing purposes,” Navarro College Dean of Midlothian Campus Guy Featherston said.

The presidents also outlined their role as the MHEC’s presidential board.

“We discussed the board’s role in making decisions as a group as they would as president of each of their respective institutions,” Featherston said. “The presidents will decide which programs their institution will add to the MHEC, and will serve as the final decision authority for the MHEC.”

The board also discussed the formation of an appointed group of 10 representatives, two from each institution, to be charged with managing the day-to-day operations of the MHEC.

“We have a large menu of programs that are on the drawing board as the MITC grows and attendance with each institution continues to rise,” Featherston said.

Each institution is projecting a continual rise in headcounts in coming years as the MHEC attracts more students and add more programs that are desired and needed in the workforce.

Each of the institutions will decide which programs to offer, but will introduce a diversity of programs at the MHEC without duplicating degree programs.

All of the undergraduate programs offered are planned to have a complementary bachelor’s or master’s degree plan.

During the brief meeting, the presidential board also looked at the future of facility expansion, knowing that the student enrollment will eventually outgrow the current facilities at Navarro College’s Midlothian campus.

“There are certainly future plans on the horizon from the expectation of growth,” Featherston said. “In the current state of our economy, each of the institutions have continued to see significant growth in attendance. We are looking at a building project for 2015 to meet the rising enrollment.”

Midlothian Economic Development President and CEO Larry Barnett discussed funding for the MHEC with the presidential board and noted Navarro College’s investment into the county.

“Since 1998 when Navarro College came to Ellis County, it has invested $36 million in higher education in the county,” Featherston said, repeating Barnett’s comments during the meeting.

The board also discussed funding allocated by the state legislature for the MITC and legal agreements or memorandums of understanding between each of the presidents.

The board will continue to meet a minimum of once per year, but the board expects to meet more frequently as the MHEC is gaining ground and establishing a foundation.

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