Cleveland State Community College has partnerships with many colleges and universities to benefit students beyond their associate’s degree.
“We have a number of schools that we articulate with, that means we have taken the time to meet with them ... and asked what courses do you have that our students need, and what do we have that will satisfy that need?” said Dr. Denise King, vice president for academic affairs.
All Tennessee Board of Regents system colleges are a part of an agreement called Tennessee Pathways to make nearly all of a student’s college credits transferable to other colleges within the system.
When it comes to private four-year institutions, Cleveland State has to develop individual agreements.
“Some schools are offering completion programs that line up directly behind programs that we offer here on campus. For example, our advanced program in business management. It is an accelerated adult evening program that is offered in a very intensive way on our campus,” King said.
This particular on-campus option is offered through an agreement with Trevecca Nazarene University.
“So the (adult) students can continue right after they complete our program into an accelerated program that will get them all the way to a bachelor’s degree,” King said.
Cleveland State will also be partnering with the school to offer a bachelor’s in computer information technologies completion program.
King said this is not offered anywhere else and should be starting at CSCC in the next year. She said she is excited about future agreements which may develop.
King said for the past six months she had been working on updating these agreements with private schools.
“It’s something that always has to be renewed because you don’t want to just sit on an old agreement,” King said.
Tennessee Wesleyan and Bryan College also have current partnerships.
“We have provided space for all of our partners to use as an office, so they have a place right here on campus where they can meet with students,” King said.
Offering bachelor completion programs on campus through articulation agreements is nothing new for Cleveland State.
“We really see these as partnerships in support of students,” King said.
Agreements have also been made with four-year institutions to help students in other ways.
“What we have already done for our students who have already transferred to King (University in Knoxville), we have worked out what we call a reverse transfer agreement,” King said.
The agreement allows a student who transferred to King University before completing their associate’s degree to receive this degree by using credits from King.
King said the university notifies Cleveland State and the student when they qualify for this option.
“What King has found in their studies is that students who reverse transfer and complete their AA, have a better chance of actually completing their bachelor’s degree,” King said.
She said finishing the associates provides further motivation.
Other reverse transfer options are also being explored.
Articulation agreements also exist between Cleveland State and University of Phoenix for its online degree programs.
The community college hopes to develop a similar partnership with the online college Western Governors University — Tennessee.
The ultimate goal with all of these agreements is to increase the college graduation rate in Tennessee.
In the past, many community colleges focused on providing access to higher education, now as part of the statewide Drive to 55 initiative a greater emphasis is being placed on degree completion.
“It’s just not good enough to get in the door and provide some support, we want to really focus on completing a degree, because that’s what our state needs,” King said.
King said Cleveland State continues to provide support and explore new ways to ensure student success.