It is hardly a secret in education circles that community college students often get the short end of the stick when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Community colleges are viewed as gateways for many students to receive formal, post-secondary education, but math and science education credits do not always transfer successfully to many four-year colleges.
Considering that 50 percent of African-Americans, 55 percent of Latinos and 64 percent of American Indians who earned bachelorfs or masterfs degrees in science or engineering began their studies in community college, the National Science Foundation has reported, the issue signifies one of urgency.
The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc. (NACME), a STEM advocacy organization, has advocated a closer relationship between two- and four-year colleges in STEM in order to enable the successful transfer of students to four-year engineering programs.
An announcement from North Carolina A&T Universityfs College of Engineering that it has formed a joint partnership with Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina will help to address the issue. Beginning in fall 2013, GTCC students will be able to apply for joint admission to A&Ts College of Engineering.
The partnership, officials at both schools say, will improve access to undergraduate STEM education and provide coordinated services and activities in support of student retention and to increase graduation rates. The co-admission agreement is a first for both institutions and for the state of North Carolina in engineering.
gThis partnership with GTCC will enable the university to better meet our nation's growing need for qualified STEM professionals," says A&T Chancellor Harold Martin Sr.
The partnership has two primary components. One is the co-admission program agreement and the other is a curriculum articulation agreement. Select students will be co-admitted to both GTCC and North Carolina A&T simultaneously. The program will coordinate federal and financial aid disbursement, allow for one application fee for North Carolina A&T, and create special scholarship opportunities for Guilford County, N.C., graduates. The curriculum articulation agreement will allow successful students to apply 65 credits toward bachelor's degrees in civil or mechanical engineering at A&T, enabling GTCC students to achieve junior standing upon transition.
GTCC hopes to enroll up to 30 students in the program in the fall 2013.