The University of Tennessee at Martin’s Jackson Center is relocating to the Jackson State Community College main campus following almost a year of negotiations. The move to Jackson State’s Ned R. McWherter Center will begin Dec. 18 and completed in time for the start of spring semester classes Jan. 11.
The UT Martin Jackson Center is currently located at 3031 Highway 45 Bypass, its home since October 2011. The university has offered classes in Jackson since 1992, and the upcoming move is the center’s second relocation to Jackson State. The center first moved to the Jackson State campus in January 2008 before eventually relocating in 2011 to its present site. The current move returns the center to a campus setting and is another step in the growing partnership between the university and the Tennessee Board of Regents institution, which is observing its 50th anniversary.
“This partnership is a win-win for both institutions and a win for our students as well,” said Dr. Allana Hamilton, Jackson State president. “It provides JSCC graduates the flexibility they need to balance education, employment and family. Through this partnership, it is possible for a student to begin and graduate at Jackson State Community College and then enroll at UT Martin to complete a baccalaureate degree without leaving the Jackson State campus.”
The most recent data show that Jackson State transfer students enjoy a high rate of success when they transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree at UT Martin. Overall transfer four-year graduation rates are 6.1 percent below UT Martin’s institutional average, but Jackson State four-year graduation rates are 10.9 percent above UTM institutional rates. UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver said this speaks to the benefit of a Jackson State degree to baccalaureate completion.
“The joint goal is to improve the long-term educational experience for students in West Tennessee,” Carver said. “Working together with Jackson State, we can improve transfer pathways and four-year graduation success of students entering Jackson State and completing their four-year degrees at UT Martin. This partnership will also impact the overall educational level of West Tennessee, leading to better employment and economic opportunities.”
The schools joined forces earlier this year to support transfer students financially when UT Martin and Jackson State established a partnership in August as a result of the university’s Elam Transfer Promise. Carver joined Dr. Flora Tydings, Tennessee Board of Regents chancellor, and Mike Krause, Tennessee Higher Education Commission executive director, in agreeing to the transfer promise. The agreement provides scholarships that benefit Tennessee Promise students who pursue a four-year degree at UT Martin. The university became the first four-year public institution in Tennessee to formalize an extension of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.
Approximately half of Jackson State students plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. Because the UT Martin Jackson Center will offer at its new location only upper-division classes that do not duplicate any Jackson State class offerings, the agreement emphasizes the importance of JSCC students receiving their associate degree before transferring to UT Martin. The institutions will cooperate to provide a variety of non-degree, continuing education, and high school dual enrollment courses and programs.
For UT Martin, the move will initially prioritize bachelor’s degree programs in agriculture, business administration, criminal justice, education, social work, interdisciplinary studies, history, political science, psychology and the RN to BSN in nursing. The university’s Military Science and Leadership Program, of which ROTC is a part, already includes Jackson State, as well as Bethel University in McKenzie, Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, and Lane College and Union University in Jackson.
The UT Martin Jackson Center is managed by the university’s Office of Educational Outreach. Dr. Brian Donavant is educational outreach executive director, and Kayce Beam is the Jackson Center director. More about the new UT Martin Jackson Center location and its academic and non-degree programs is available at utm.edu/departments/Jackson or by calling the center at 731-425-9277. Information about the Elam Transfer Promise scholarships is available at utm.edu or by calling the UT Martin Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at 731-881-7040.