By Patrick Nguyen:
Amarillo College’s East Campus has a new leader. Michael Kitten began his new job as the dean of East Campus at the beginning of January.
Kitten has already set goals for the campus. “We want to create new partnerships with new and existing businesses in the community,” Kitten said. “We also want to increase exposure of the East Campus to business and industry and increase enrollment with marketing and communication within our school districts.”
Dr. Kim T. Hays, the department chair of welding technology on the East Campus, said Kitten arrived at a time when AC is going through some big changes. With changes come some challenges, Hays said.
“Today there are so many distractions that Kitten will need help to get out and work on his goals,” Hays said. “This help will also allow me to focus on the classroom and labs more.”
Hays said he agrees with Kitten’s goals and said that industry partnerships and recruiting have always been the goal for the East Campus.
“East Campus represents untold opportunity, good jobs and rewarding careers,” Hays said. “It has the same new problem as all industry; we are in a society that doesn’t know what the words controls, machinist, instrumentation and manufacturing mean.”
Kitten has received high praise from fellow staff members. Claudia Arnold, the adviser on AC’s East Campus, said that she is excited to work with Kitten and will assist him as much as she can.
Before accepting the dean position, Kitten served as the Executive Director of the Hereford Economic Development Corporation and was a nonvoting member of the AC board of regents, representing Hereford.
The East Campus offers technical programs including the Harrington Aviation program, the Kritser Diesel Program, logistics and transportation and industrial technology.
East Campus was once the location of the Amarillo Air Force base, which closed in 1968. The campus then became part of Texas State Technical Institute, which was renamed Texas State Technical College, and then it became part of Amarillo College in 1995.
In addition to academic classes and technical programs, the campus also delivers training to industry through contracts and grants.