SANFORD — Administrators from Central Carolina Community College and UNC-Pembroke met Jan. 27 to discuss expanding educational opportunities for the college’s students beyond an associate degree.
“Our philosophy is that our students should go as far as their intellect will take them,” said Dr. Bud Marchant, Central Carolina president. “The door should always be open to more education if a student so chooses. I think more and more will choose to do so if it is convenient, doable, and affordable. That’s what we want to do.”
Central Carolina already has an articulation agreement with Campbell University, enabling graduates to transfer seamlessly to that university’s programs. Marchant said that, through collaborations, the college also improves the economy and quality of life in its service area of Chatham, Harnett, and Lee counties by turning out well-educated business people, nurses, and others with needed skills.
Marchant met with Dr. Allen Meadors, chancellor of UNC-Pembroke, to discuss possible collaborations between the two institutions. Also taking part in the discussion were Dr. Darrell Page, the university’s director of Community College Outreach and Coordination; Dr. Lisa Chapman, the college’s vice president of Instruction; and Ken Hoyle, vice president of Student Services.
Meadors said that the university takes seriously its role as a regional institution, joining with community colleges to expand opportunities for their students. By offering courses through collaborative agreements, community college graduates do not have to leave their area to obtain higher education.
“In rural areas, when the best and brightest go off to get a degree, they frequently don’t come back,” he said. “That doesn’t help the local area.”
Those at the meeting agreed that the college and university would work together to come up with areas of collaboration and details of an articulation agreement. Collaboration would include the university’s offering courses at the college or via the Internet. A recruiter would visit the campus regularly to speak with students about educational opportunities at UNC-Pembroke.
The university already offers a Bachelor of Independent Studies for associate degree graduates. Those at the meeting agreed that a BIS with a business management emphasis would benefit Central Carolina students earning Associate in Applied Science degrees in areas such as sculpture, sustainable agriculture, and biofuels. It would give them the needed expertise to set up their own businesses.
Meadors said that other universities require Associate of Applied Science degree graduates to take an additional three years to earn a bachelor’s degree. At Pembroke, it can be done in two years. Cost saving is also a significant factor. To earn 30 credit hours while living at the Pembroke Campus costs about $10,000, including tuition, fees, room and board — much less than at other universities. The same 30 credit hours taught by UNC-Pembroke at Central Carolina C.C. would cost approximately $3,000, a significant savings.
The university has strong bachelor’s degree programs in teacher training and nursing, two careers in high demand in the college’s service area. Meadors said that, in the early 2000s, the state Department of Education ranked all 48 university/college education programs. UNC-P was one of only two schools that were ranked “exemplary” every year that the ranking occurred.
Courses leading to a bachelor’s degree in education and nursing could be taught by the university at the college, providing associate degree graduates the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degrees locally.
“Someone could finish a whole bachelor’s degree at Central Carolina,” said Page. “That adds to your strength as a community college.”
Administrators and faculty at both institutions will come up with details on collaboration and representatives of the schools will continue to meet to create a working plan.