Mountwest teams up with Ohio University

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Offering chance to earn advanced degree

Ohio University and Mountwest Community and Technical College recently paired up to give area students a more affordable and readily accessible way to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Before this past Friday, Mountwest students seeking a degree in criminal justice or technical and applied sciences only had the option of an associate’s degree. Now, current MCTC students as well as those who have already graduated with an associate’s in those fields have the opportunity to take their education to the next level – a bachelor’s degree.

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“This partnership has its roots in the Educate the Tri-State higher education consortium, which has as its purpose raising educational aspirations and attainment on both sides of the river,” said Dr. Bill Willan, dean of the OU Southern Campus.

MCTC students can complete the required courses for their bachelor’s degree at Ohio University Southern in Ironton or Proctorville or online, said Linda Lockhart, manager of communication for OU.

“From our standpoint this is a very exciting partnership,” she said, adding that it is the first out of state partnership for OU.

Lockhart said the process for being enrolled in two schools has been streamlined to eliminate confusion. Students receiving financial aid will have their aid processed through OU, but can have that aid go towards classes at MCTC. Advising would also be handled through OU, with Stephanie Burcham, OU Proctorville director, acting as the relationship manager.

Aside from the convenience of taking the course nearby or online, both OU and MCTC feel that the partnership provides the students with an affordable option, rather than the option to uproot and relocate to another area.

“We are pleased to be able to offer students whose work and family circumstances prevent them from attending classes at Ohio University’s Athens campus the opportunity to experience the academic excellence that is a hallmark of our bachelor’s degree programs,” said Dr. Dan Evans, executive dean of regional higher education and vice provost of e-learning and strategic initiatives.

Lockhart said the new partnership is a win-win-win situation. MCTC is a winner because the partnership gives its students more opportunities to further their education. OU is a winner because the school gains enrollment from students who might not otherwise have enrolled without the new degree option. Students are winners because they now have more degree options without the need to relocate.

The two schools anticipate adding more program options in the future.

“We are committed to providing more affordable and convenient avenues through which our students can advance their education,” said Dr. Keith J. Cotroneo, president of MCTC. “It is our intention with this new partnership with Ohio University to continue down that path and create more opportunities for advancement for our students.”