Valdosta State University Partners with Regional Technical Colleges

Article excerpt

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Postsecondary institutions cannot survive as isolated islands and must constantly be motivated to pursue new partnerships to provide students the opportunity to transition through career and technical education (CTE). A partnership between Valdosta State University (VSU) in Valdosta, Georgia. and regional technical colleges is doing just that by providing formal pathways for students with an associate degree in applied science to continue on to earn a bachelor's.

Institutional Partnerships

The message is clear: Most jobs in today's global economy require some postsecondary education. The challenge is for institutions to provide students with seamless pathways from one end of the education spectrum to the next. VSU is partnering with southern Georgia two-year technical colleges to achieve this goal and is administratively responsible for the operation of the cooperative degree programs. VCU's Department of Adult and Career Education (ACED) oversees the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program, and that department is responsible for students as they work to earn a bachelor's degree. This responsibility includes faculty serving as academic advisors for students enrolled in the program after they satisfy the appropriate admission requirements.

Every program at the technical colleges in this cooperative agreement must meet the following criteria:

1. Students are required to take a program that is at least one year long as a full-time study at the technical colleges;

2. Courses are taught by faculty holding the appropriate academic credentials and a certain amount of work experience;

3. Twenty-one hours of courses must be taken in residence at VSU in order to be eligible for graduation; and 4. Students will be required to satisfactorily complete both parts of the Georgia Regents' Basics Skills Examination prior to graduation from VSU.

The cooperative agreement between VSU and the partnering technical colleges involves the following expectations:

1. An annual meeting to oversee the academic elements of the program that include faculty credentials, course content, assessment methods and use, and ongoing review;

2. Partnering technical colleges report the progress of their programs to a VSU official during the annual meeting; and

3. VSU is immediately informed about changes in the policy, faculty and format of the approved programs.

Associate of Applied Science

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is a two-year college degree that combines academic and technical courses. Students complete the technical portion of their program at partnering Georgia two-year colleges such as Moultrie Technical College and East Central Technical College, and complete 24 semester hours of general education and related academic coursework at VSU. Students can complete their degree in one of three ways: 1) Complete technical courses at a two-year college, then academic courses at VSU: 2) Complete academic courses at VSU, then take technical courses at a two-year college; or 3) Simultaneously take courses at VSU and a technical college. The AAS degree is offered with a major in either technical health, services, business, technology or dental hygiene. Completion of this program provides students with a distinct credential advantage upon entering the workforce and qualifies them to enter the Bachelors of Applied Science (BAS) degree program.

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Bachelor of Applied Science

The bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree is a four-year college degree that combines academic, technical and professional courses. The BAS degree prepares students to assume leadership positions within their technical field. They complete the technical portion of their program with a Georgia two-year technical college and complete academic course requirements at VSU. All students must complete the equivalent of an AAS degree or associate of science degree before entering the BAS program. …