Jackson State Community College has announced that beginning in the spring, it will offer courses to students on an extended campus in Paris, Tennessee.
The community college will take residence in the Central Community Service Center located at Jones Bend Road. The building currently houses the Office on Aging, Adult Learning Center and the R.E.A.L. Hope Youth Center. Five rooms will serve as classroom space for 50 to 70 students for general education courses.
With a drive of approximately 40 minutes separating it from the city of Martin, there are some who worry that the new JSCC program could potentially threaten the effectiveness of UTM’s academic outreach in that area.
However, Dr. Brian Donavant, Interim Executive Director of UTM’s Educational Outreach program, believes that the proximity of the colleges will not negatively affect UTM’s effect in the community.
“UTM has worked with Jackson State for years through different programs and different career fairs,” said Donavant. ” … Jackson State is a two-year college where UT Martin is a four-year university, so I wouldn’t say we are ‘in competition’ with them.”
Officials say the idea behind the new Jackson State educational site is to give residents a better chance to take advantage of the Tennessee Promise scholarship, enabling adults to earn an associate’s degree. In addition, the college would allow local high school students to participate in dual enrollment classes for college credit.
Despite the slight decline in Martin’s undergraduate enrollment over the past few years, Donavant says that the Educational Outreach program at UTM is not worried about the new site in Paris.
“The main thing we want for student is success, which ultimately is graduation,” said Donavant. “You know we’d love for everybody’s first choice to be UTM, but for a variety of reasons that isn’t possible for everyone. If starting at Jackson State and then choosing to continue their education here or just finishing at Jackson State is the way they achieve success, then that’s what we want for them.”