Spotlight on Pike, Barbour & Bullock: Higher Education

Troy University and Wallace Community College provide several certificate and degree options for area residents

A view of Troy University’s main quad with John Robert Lewis Hall in the background.

Troy University

Founded in 1887, Troy University is a public institution serving traditional college-aged students and adult learners with four campuses in Alabama — Troy, Dothan, Montgomery and Phenix City — along with locations in seven states and international locations.

With a worldwide enrollment of more than 15,000 students, Troy serves students from more than 65 countries. The Troy campus is home to the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park, which includes a variety of artworks in its International Arts Center and a display of 200 replica terra-cotta warriors, and the IDEA Bank, located on the square in downtown Troy, which serves as a hub for entrepreneurship and small business development for Troy students and the surrounding community.

In 2021, Troy University was recognized as a national model for providing quality, affordable education by Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust. The study was part of a project focusing on affordability strategies employed by the governing boards of five public universities. For Troy, the study examined the leadership of Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. and the board of trustees.

“We picked Troy University because it delivers a tremendous amount of value for the public,” said James Toscano, president of Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust. “Troy stands out nationally as a highly adaptive university willing to wrestle with some of the most difficult business and operational issues facing higher education today. Thanks to grounded university leadership, this adaptiveness is in its DNA. Troy leaves a road map that other institutions would be wise to follow if they want to stay current and successfully navigate these turbulent times.”

Troy University has kept prices level for students for the past four years and announced this spring that tuition rates for the 2022-2023 academic year would remain unchanged.

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In fall 2021, the university established a new pricing structure called the Clear Cost Plan, which eliminates a host of fees for labs, registration, recreation and more, and established single tuition rates for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral classes whether online or in-class.

Other recent developments include:

  • Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business has teamed with the John M. Long School of Music in the College of Communication and Fine Arts to offer the MBA in music industry. It blends 18 semester credit hours in business fields with 18 hours in music industry. The university also opened a new mix room that enables students to train in a “production facility of the future.”
  • Troy University and the American Village Citizenship Trust are teaming to help Alabama youth increase their knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, government and the role of the citizen. The Young Leaders Program will be administered by Troy’s Institute for Civic and Global Leadership.
  • This summer, thousands of people took advantage of two free online classes offered by Troy, one in leadership and one in money management. Class participants who enroll at Troy could earn three credit hours for each course as a general elective or minor course by passing a challenge exam at the end of the courses.
  • Work has begun to restore Troy’s 75-acre arboretum, which includes 7½ miles of nature trails, more than 500 identified plant species, a pond, an outdoor classroom and an indoor classroom.
  • Work has begun on the National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza on the Troy campus, located near Trojan Arena and the Douglas Hawkins Towers at Veterans Memorial Stadium. NPHC is the governing body of the nine largest historically African American Greek-letter fraternities and sororities.
  • In 2021, Troy launched flex classes, a new class format that combines the best features of the online and in-class experiences, holding regular in-class sessions and each class session streamed live online at the same time. Recordings of each class session are made available for on-demand viewing later.
Wallace Community College — Sparks Campus.

Wallace Community College – Sparks Campus

Since 1966, Wallace Community College – Sparks Campus has been a standard in academics and workforce development. Wallace Community College offers classes at the Wallace campus in Dothan and the Sparks campus in Eufaula.

The campuses offer academic transfer classes, career technical training, adult education and dual enrollment. Wallace’s fall 2021 enrollment was 3,899, with 9% of the students at the Sparks campus.

More than 50% of Wallace students are between 18-24 years old. The next largest age group is 25-34, which makes up 18% of the student body. The college is a natural place for high school graduates and older students who return to continue their education.

In the past few years, dual enrollment students are trending high from the surrounding high schools. Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college-level courses while receiving high school credit for the same courses.

The Sparks campus houses three federally funded outreach TRiO programs that serve students from grades six to adulthood in Barbour, Henry, Bullock and Russell counties. College wide, more than 1,000 students participate in these programs each year with workforce opportunities available.

Sparks is active in workforce development through partnerships with area employers, such as the Humminbird Division of Johnson Outdoors, Keystone Foods, Dixon Lumber, Medical Center Barbour and Crowne Health. The Certified Nursing Assistant program graduates several classes a year. The program supplies area employers with skilled labor and is often the first step to a higher degree.

Wallace is known for its accredited nursing and allied health programs, and the Sparks campus also houses several other career technical programs such as applied engineering, air conditioning and refrigeration, welding, technology, masonry, criminal justice, child development, computer information science and business technologies.

Key facilities at Wallace include the health science simulation lab, where students can experience and diagnose simulated patients. The Sparks campus also boasts an American Welding Society-
accredited welding program, where online/hybrid learning, mobile welding units, simulators and open education resources expands learning opportunities.

Also, Sparks’ Center for Academic Success helps students improve math skills; and the Center for Writing and Writing Instruction has professional and peer tutors to help students improve writing skills.

This article appeared in the September 2022 issue of Business Alabama.

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