by Conway Jeffress and Thomas J. Haas
Amid so much reporting on
problems facing our state, one bright spot emerging during these troubled times
is increased collaboration between our community colleges and public
All across Michigan, the transition from community
colleges to public universities is becoming easier and easier, and students
couldn't be happier.
Michigan 's 15 public universities have been
working extensively with community colleges to create a smooth pathway for
students wanting four-year degrees. Our universities recognize and accept the
obligation to see that community college students who are ready to transfer
gain access to a four-year campus.
colleges offer some important advantages to students:
-- They tend to be lower
cost for the first two years of education.
-- They may be closer to
home and family.
-- Some students would
rather stay at home with parents to save on housing costs.
-- And some students simply
are not ready for the university setting. The extra two years at a community
college may bridge an important gap for these students.
That's why community
colleges and universities have collaborated to make entry into four-year
universities easier for students who choose community colleges for their first
two years of higher education. Among those programs:
agreements." That's the academic term for "how you get from community
college to university as quickly and easily as possible. " Now, due to extensive
efforts by both university and community college officials, first- and
second-year classes are increasingly aligned, easing the transfer process.
Around the state, many universities are now recognizing credits that in the
past might have been deemed unacceptable.
The Michigan Association of
Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (MACRAO) has developed a set of
computerized systems, better known as the "transfer wizard" that
allow students to more easily see the classes that qualify for university
credit, and which do not. This helps students plot their path through two years
of community college that will seamlessly fit into their four year-degree goal.
University Center concept: Many universities have
developed partnerships with community colleges that put junior and senior level
courses right on the community college campus. These centers take advantage of
university baccalaureate programs by bringing them right to community college
As part of the University Center concept, universities put
counseling facilities at the disposal of community college students, providing
personal assistance to ensure students can move as seamlessly as possible from
two -year to four-year institutions. The University Centers are also reminders
to community college students that there is a path to the four-year degree on
the same campus where they completed their Associate Degree course work.
Michigan's universities and their community
college partners are providing the best of both worlds to Michigan 's students. It's another example
of how higher education is collaborating to meet the needs of Michigan's talented students.
Conway Jeffress is president of Schoolcraft College
in Livonia and chair of the Michigan Community College
Association Board of Directors. Thomas J. Haas is president of Grand Valley
State University and chair of the Presidents Council, State
Universities of Michigan.