MURFREESBORO — An agreement signed today between Middle Tennessee State University and Columbia State Community College will help students majoring in early childhood education turn their associate degrees into bachelor’s degrees at MTSU’s Murfreesboro campus.
The agreement brings more transfer students into MTSU’s 101-year-old tradition of training Tennessee’s best teachers by easing Columbia State students’ access to the Bachelor of Science degree program in early childhood education at MTSU.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Columbia State President Janet F. Smith formally signed the agreement today inside MTSU’s Student Union.
"Our continued partnership with Columbia State takes another step forward with the signing of this agreement," said McPhee. "This pact underscores our devotion to student success and our shared resolve to help produce more college graduates for the state's workforce."
Smith said the agreement “exemplifies the initiatives of the state of Tennessee, the Tennessee Board of Regents system and our colleges to increase access to educational opportunities and degree completion.”
“We are committed to the success of our students,” she continued, “and this agreement provides a pathway for students to seamlessly transfer as they pursue their dreams and future.”
Today’s effort comes just six months after MTSU and Columbia State signed a pact allowing nursing students to upgrade their associate degrees to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from MTSU. That partnership, announced last November, even includes special career assistance from the Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia, Tenn.
MTSU and Motlow State Community College signed a similar transfer agreement for early childhood education majors last month.
Today’s arrangement provides special advising services for Columbia State transfer students and encourages academic and administrative coordination between the institutions.
In addition to its main Maury County campus, Columbia State operates branch campuses in Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton, Tenn., and also serves students from Hickman, Lewis, Giles and Perry counties.
This new agreement outlines which Columbia State courses are transferrable to MTSU and lists the upper-level MTSU courses a transfer student must take to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Transfer students also must meet normal MTSU admissions requirements, officials said.
Dr. Kathleen Burriss, interim chair of MTSU’s Department of Elementary and Special Education, said faculty and staff are “very excited” about the new opportunity to teach more Tennessee teachers.
“We’re just delighted, because this agreement provides a seamless transition for our community college candidates to come right into the university,” Burriss added. “It also gives us a wonderful opportunity to work with our cohorts at Columbia State. It’s just a reasonable way to do things.”
Marian Warren, director of Columbia State’s Early Childhood Education Program, said she looks forward to what students can accomplish with the new agreement.
“I’ve been working toward this goal since we established our program 13 years ago, and I’m so excited for our students today,” Warren said. “This will give our students the venue they need to become great professionals.”
Representatives from each institution will review the agreement and revise it by mutual consent.
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