Building on Success
The program, initially known as Texas Target Cities, officially formed in 1993 when the late Dr. David Pugh, a faculty member in the College of Architecture’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, noticed that small communities needed assistance in creating comprehensive plans, master plans and land-use plans. “We’ve had generations of planners go through the program, working with real communities learning to do this in a service-learning capacity,” said TxTC Associate Director Jaimie Masterson ’06.
In 2012, Dr. John Cooper ’92 ’94, an expert in community engagement and planning, took over the program. A year later, the initiative hired Masterson as the first full-time staff member. As its mission expanded to assist a wider range of communities, TxTC changed its name in 2015. “We don’t always work with government entities,” Masterson said. “In some cases, we work with a nonprofit or a neighborhood. We’re charged with meeting the community’s needs where they are and trying to find whatever support, resources and expertise that are on campus or on other System campuses to meet those needs.”
These efforts increased the demand for TxTC’s services and resulted in the program moving into the Provost’s Office of Public Partnership and Outreach in 2017. In addition to the growing list of TxTC partner communities, there is a growing list of recurring colleges, centers, institutes and programs at Texas A&M that collaborate with the program. This includes the School of Public Health, the School of Law, the College of Engineering, the Bush School of Government and Public Service, the Colonias Program, the Center for Heritage Conservation, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Texas Sea Grant. TxTC also works regularly with Texas A&M University System schools, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and branch campus, Texas A&M University at Galveston.
“We are a point of access for the know-how within Texas A&M University,” said Cooper. “When communities come to us, we listen to their dreams and help them connect to the resources necessary to begin transforming dreams to reality.”