Mineral Area College, the institution set to offer college classes in Texas County, is looking for instructors as it prepares to launch at the Piney River Technical Center on Spruce Street in Houston. 

Dr. Diana Stuart, dean of arts and sciences for Mineral Area College, and Julie Sheets, dean of students, made an on-site visit Friday as classroom construction is underway. Workmen were busy erecting walls and working on sheetrock for the space that will house the Houston campus of Mineral Area College. They were accompanied by Rob Harrington, the city’s director of economic development, who has worked extensively on the project. 

Stuart said the college is seeking instructors that meet state and accreditation guidelines established by the Higher Learning Commission. 

Those include:

•Having a master’s degree in the field being taught or in a related field. 

•An instructor may have a master’s degree in education; however, he or she must have 18 graduate hours in the subject being taught. 


Part-time instructors are needed for English, history/political science, math, psychology/sociology and computer science. Persons should submit a resume, cover letter, unofficial college transcripts and references. The online address is: www.mineralarea.edu/applyonline.aspx

If all goes as planned, Mineral Area will begin offering classes in October at the building that once was home to a jeans manufacturing plant. In a transaction earlier this year, the City of Houston’s Industrial Development Authority bought the 47,000 square foot building from another local industry group, Houston Development Co. The City of Houston contributed toward the construction costs. 

The move allows the new owners — because of its not-for-profit status — to apply for grants and other financing. Harrington has already completed one application and plans to submit another soon. Several other local entities — including the Houston School District and Texas County Memorial Hospital —  have joined to help with the project. A trio of nurses at TCMH are working toward getting proper certification to teach health-related classes that would be offered. The hospital also has pledged equipment. 

The Houston School District is interested in having the availability of technical education classes at the center, where is a short distance from its own campus. It currently buses its own students to West Plains.

When all pieced together, the center allows students several paths to obtain education:

•Using the state’s A+ dollars to get a two-year education at Mineral Area College and then transferring to Drury University to obtain a four-year degree.

•Selecting technical education and learning high-demand skills.

•Taking dual enrollment classes with Mineral Area College and their local school.

•Obtaining education for much-in-demand healthcare jobs. 

•Brushing up on a skill.

During the tour last week, Stuart and Sheets saw the construction progress, examined office furniture, tables and chairs that are already on site and made plans for the use of the space throughout the building. An entrance will be temporarily established on the northeast side of the building. Eventually, the entrance will be on the south side of the building off Walnut Street. 

Dr. Joe Gilgour, president of Mineral Area College, was set to be in Houston this week. 

Mineral Area College is a public community college in Park Hills. Founded in 1922 as Flat River Junior College, it changed its name in 1965 and has more than 11,000 alumni.

Current enrollment has quadrupled in the years since the name change and is currently just under 4,000 students. Students can complete a wide variety of certificate and two-year degree programs. Students may transfer to four-year institutions to complete bachelor’s degree programs, such as Drury College that is in the Piney River Technical Center. 

Texas County sits in the western part of Mineral Area’s community college footprint. 

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