Wayland CAMPUS gets AT&T grant for distance learning needs

Release Date: June 16, 2008

SAN ANTONIO -- The AT&T Foundation, the corporate  philanthropy organization of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), and WaylandBaptistUniversityhave announced a $290,000 grant  to support distance learning initiatives.
       WBU is the fourth largest Southern Baptist university in the country and has provided quality  higher education to students in Texas for 100 years.
        The grant will help fully fund the equipment needs for distance learning  classrooms and help solve three major problems facing higher education today: a  critical shortage of nursing students; a critical shortage of qualified  elementary and secondary teachers; and an inability to find qualified college  level faculty in many of the smaller campus locations and traditionally  underserved areas.
         “AT&T’s grant gives WBU the opportunity to expand program offerings  and add classrooms, laboratories and distance education programs,” said Dr.  James Antenen, dean of WaylandBaptistUniversity– San Antonio.
         The project, partially funded by AT&T, is helping expand WBU’s  capacity to serve the needs of an estimated 2,000 additional students annually  through distance education to directly address the following  issues:
           Shortage of skilled nurses

  • Shortage of qualified elementary/secondary  teachers
  • Shortage of bilingual teachers
  • Shortage of schoolhouse seats for nursing and  teacher education students
  • Shortage of non-traditional evening nursing and  teacher education degree programs for working adults
  • Inaccessibility to nursing, teacher education, and  numerous other programs in the underserved surrounding area, including the  Rio GrandeValley, West Texas and New  Mexico.

“There was never any doubt  Wayland would put this grant to good use,”  said Jerry Fuentes, AT&T Assistant  Vice President-External Affairs. “We saw  a need and wanted to make every effort to be part of the process of addressing  critical shortages of teachers and nurses.   These are two of the most important occupations out there, addressing our  children and those in need.”
            According to information from the Texas Department of  State Health Services, the state nursing shortage translates to roughly 7,100  positions left unfilled in Texashospitals, costing them as much as $390  million to recruit high-level professionals.  These shortages are magnified along the  Texasborder with Mexico.
             Meanwhile, according to a recent report released by the Texas Comptroller  of Public Accounts, nearly 37,000 Texasteachers leave the classroom each year  to retire or enter another profession while the state’s student population  explodes.    
            “The Legislature has worked hard to develop policies  to make Texas the most  connected state in the country. I applaud technology being used to  access higher education,” said state Senator Leticia Van de  Putte.
            AT&T has a history of investing in programs that  enhance and enable success in education, supporting initiatives that help  students throughout the higher education continuum. These include programs for  the successful completion of high school, college preparation and degree  completion and graduation. In April 2008, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation  launched a $100 million philanthropic program to help strengthen student success  and workforce readiness. It includes grants to schools and nonprofit  organizations, creation of a student job shadowing initiative, underwriting of  national research, and support for state and community dropout prevention  summits.