By Jack Jeffery
An articulation agreement signed the week of Jan. 12 by Ohio University-Chillicothe and Southern State Community College will help expand educational access for students in southern Ohio by creating a convenient pathway between an associate?s degree and a bachelor?s degree, while providing students with a choice about where they attend classes.
The partnership provides a way for students who earn associate degrees at Southern State to pursue a bachelor?s degree through Ohio University?s Chillicothe campus. Students will be able to enroll in the program beginning fall quarter 2009.
University System of Ohio Chancellor Eric Fingerhut attended the formal signing ceremony on Jan. 12 in Washington Court House.
?A goal of this partnership is to jointly support the development of a more highly educated and competitive regional workforce that is capable of meeting the needs of new and existing career fields,? Fingerhut said. ?Ohio University-Chillicothe has been responding aggressively to the call to partner with community colleges. A core element of the University System of Ohio strategic plan is to make an affordable pathway for Ohioans to associate and bachelor?s degrees.?
The agreement allows students in certain associate degree programs?applied business, applied science or technical studies?at Southern State?s Fayette Campus in Washington Court House to seamlessly move into a bachelor?s degree program in specialized studies or technical and applied studies from Ohio University.
?This articulation agreement increases opportunities for our students and the communities we serve,? said Sherry A. Stout, Southern State Community College president. ?Further, this arrangement reflects our desire to develop lifelong learners and to continue to support them and the region. Southern State and OU-Chillicothe are close in proximity and in their missions, and this partnership builds upon that relationship.?
OU-C Dean Richard Bebee noted that the partnership illustrates the value of collaboration.
?This agreement represents a common-sense approach that combines the resources of two institutions and proves that we gain more by cooperating with one another than by competing against each other,? Bebee said.
?This type of partnership -- which efficiently combines the resources of two higher education institutions with varied offerings but similar missions -- captures the spirit of the University System of Ohio?s strategic objectives,? Bebee added. ?It utilizes higher education as an economic driver for the region and increases accessibility to a college education.?
Also attending Monday?s ceremony was Ohio University Executive Dean of Regional Campuses Dan Evans.
An adviser will be hired on a part-time basis and funded by both institutions to work with students and help facilitate the agreement.
This is the second venture between Southern State and the Chillicothe campus to increase accessibility to higher education for residents of the region. The two institutions are among five that formed the Higher Education Consortium of Southern Ohio in spring 2008. That agreement provides a framework for institutions in southern Ohio to work collaboratively toward the goal of making higher education more accessible for the residents of 15 counties.