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The past year presented some interesting challenges for all of us, but it was also not without some great news. Tillamook Bay Community College was ranked #10 for Best Community Colleges in the United States for 2020 according to SmartAsset, a financial technology firm that has conducted the study for the past seven years. The study ranked 821 of the 1,050 community colleges in the U.S. by analyzing student-to-faculty ratio, graduation and transfer rate, and cost of tuition and fees. The college was also ranked #6 in the state on the list of 2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Oregon according to the Guide to Online Schools. The ranking is determined by several factors, including retention rate, graduation rate, percentage of online enrollment data, and the number of online associate degrees offered.

Here are some other highlights from 2020 New Academic Programs

The College thinks carefully about developing degrees, certificates, and educational opportunities that will meet the needs of students and employers in the community. The process includes meeting with business and industry professionals, listening to future workforce needs, and being innovative in how the college addresses these needs within the scope of academic learning and career-technical skill building.

In 2019/2020, TBCC introduced the following

• A new Basic Healthcare Certificate was created that can be completed while a student is still in high school. The first high school student to complete this certificate will finalize their internship this winter term.

• Three new certificates were added in Welding Technology: SMAW, GMAW, and GTAW.

• A new Associate of Applied Science Degree in Agricultural Technology was developed with input from several local farmers and producers including Zwiefel, Oldenkamp and DaLaval. Courses are taught by local industry experts and students spend a great deal of time in the field doing hands-on learning.

• The college launched an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Healthcare Administration, where students take courses in healthcare business and choose a clinical certificate in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Phlebotomy or Medical Assisting. Students can also now earn the Phlebotomy certificate for credit in addition to non-credit. The brand new Medical Assisting certificate began in 2020, and all program graduates were not only highly recruited but also able to accept employment locally.

• The Tillamook Works program launched, and placed its first intern at the TCCA Farm Store over the summer. Tillamook Works is a career readiness program that connects high school and college students in Tillamook County to local businesses, organizations, and professionals through internships and career exploration activities. The Tillamook Works program is supported by Tillamook Bay Community College, Neah-Kah-Nie School District, Nestucca Valley School District, Tillamook School District, and the Northwest Regional ESD.  

• The college also added transfer degree options in both Biology and English. Students in these degree programs can transfer to every public university in Oregon as a junior in their major.

• In 2020, TBCC began offering three new options to complete a degree online. Students can now complete an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAO¬¬T), Associate of Science (AS), and an Associate of General Studies (AGS) degree completely online. The three degrees join the Business Administration degree that has been online since 2015. There are also four certificates that can be earned online including certificates in accounting and office supervision.

Equity and Inclusion

In 2020, the TBCC Leadership Team affirmed their support for Black Lives Matter. As an educational institution, the College believes it has an obligation to speak up and take an active part in dismantling systemic racism. To this end, over the summer TBCC screened the movie ‘Just Mercy’ at the Tillamook Coliseum Theater free to the community to start a community wide discussion on the topic. Seventy people viewed the film.

TBCC will continue to focus on community-wide discussions and efforts to dismantle racist systems and inequities within Tillamook County and the nation.

Expanding Career Technical Education

The College increased Career-Technical education offerings in the academic year 2019-2020. The focus this past year was on healthcare and industrial technology and was to support the needs of local employers seeking to hire qualified, high-skilled employees to fill high-wage jobs. To support the growth in the Manufacturing and Industrial Technology programs, TBCC purchased the former Mechtronics building, which sits on Third Street across from the college’s main campus. This building will become the Center for Industrial Technology and house the Manufacturing and Industrial Technology programs, which have been in desperate need of space to grow.

Small Business Development Center

The TBCC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been a key resource for businesses impacted by COVID-19.  

The client load increased from the usual 110-120 businesses per year to 230 small businesses served. Training programs were added around managing through challenging times, how to access SBA disaster assistance and using creativity to survive a disaster.  

The SBDC partnered with the Tillamook County Economic Development Council to help distribute multiple rounds of grant funding, totaling $798,000 so far, to the business community. SBDC clients reported raising over $870,000 in new capital so far in 2020. Additionally, they provided 38 training programs with a total of 297 participants. Many of the workshops were offered at no charge through grant funding provided by The Ford Family Foundation.  

High-Tech Classroom Options

The pandemic threw everyone in education a curve ball, and the college did its part to meet the health crisis head on. TBCC was a frontliner in developing a brand new class modality that allows students to take certain classes either in person, via Zoom, or online simultaneously in the same term and same class (or move back and forth in modalities where needed). This hy-flex class option launched winter term, and gives students a level of flexibility that meets their needs while still delivering high-quality education. It also helps keep students safe as they can work from home when able, and come in for face-to-face instruction as needed.

COVID Response

In mid-March, the world was impacted by the spreading coronavirus pandemic. The College made a series of decisions over the first few weeks of the pandemic to keep both students and staff safe, including taking a step back from offering in-person classes for spring term. However, the College came back strong and through a detailed and evolving Covid Response Plan, was able to safely offer 60% of classes face-to-face in summer and fall terms.

During spring and fall term, TBCC offered free college classes to juniors and seniors enrolled in a Tillamook County high school as a way to support K-12 students with additional learning options. Students who enrolled earned college credits and saved a total of $134,000 in college tuition and fees.

Facilities Master Plan

The TBCC Board of Education approved the College’s Facilities Master Plan in 2020, which calls for a renovation of the current main campus building to better serve students, and a new two-story building on the south college lot across the driveway from the main campus. The new building will include both office and classroom space and an adjacent community-space with a seating capacity of 500. The plan is current being considered by the legislature for match funding for up to $8M in state funds. The College has reached a critical state in its ability to continue to meet the needs of the community within the current infrastructure, and an approval of the Facilities Master Plan is the first step toward making these improvements.

Looking toward the future

In 2021, TBCC will celebrate its 40th anniversary, and will plan an appropriate celebration with the community. While it is unclear at this point what that will look like, the college intends to recognize this milestone and share its accomplishments and growth over the last four decades.

The College will also undergo its first 7-year accreditation visit in October 2021. This is an opportunity to showcase to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities how the college is meeting our strategic goals. Every accredited college is reviewed on a 7-year basis, and this is TBCC’s first independently-accredited review.

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