Lakeland College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College unveil new approach for Wisconsin higher education
Adult Education - posted on 8/9/2006Interwoven degree program is first of its kind in state
The toughest decision you will have to make is whether to have two graduation parties.
Lakeland College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College announced today (Aug. 9) a new approach in Wisconsin higher education - a business management program that allows students to simultaneously earn an NWTC Associate Degree and Lakeland Bachelor's Degree.
This interwoven degree program is unique in Wisconsin because students may attend both colleges at once, mixing technical classes with humanities in the same semester. Innovative agreements on joint admissions, counseling, financial aid and other services increase student access to two state leaders in student-centered programming.
The interwoven degree stems from results of an NWTC student survey and meetings between Lakeland President Stephen Gould and NWTC President Jeffrey Rafn.
The survey, conducted in the fall of 2005, showed that 61 percent of 719 students said they planned to earn a bachelor's degree after completing coursework at NWTC, and 80 percent said they would be more likely to transfer to a four-year college if courses they took at NWTC would transfer to a bachelor's degree program.
"I met with Dr. Rafn as part of a statewide tour to visit many of Wisconsin's technical college presidents," Gould said. "Putting together an interwoven degree was high on NWTC's priority list.
"Lakeland has a long history of serving the technical college population. This is the next generation of that relationship."
Rafn agreed. "This is all about access to education, about offering students more diverse paths toward their educational goals. Increased access for students is one of our core values, and a top priority for both colleges. I'm not surprised we're first in the state to strike this kind of an agreement with Lakeland, although I won't be surprised to see it spread throughout the Technical College System as well."
Unlike a traditional 2+2 agreement, in which students complete a two-year degree before starting their four-year degree, students will be able to attend both colleges from day one, beginning with a joint application.
Full-time students can finish both degrees in four years. Both Lakeland and NWTC courses will be taken each year, with more NWTC coursework coming early in a student's academic plan. A sample schedule for a full-time student is available at www.lakeland.edu/nwtc.
Because students can take classes at each college each semester, students are likely to earn an NWTC associate's degree just before completing the Lakeland bachelor's degree - the exact time will vary from student to student.
Convenience will be a key. Lakeland will offer some of its courses at NWTC for the first time, and students will have coursework at Lakeland's Green Bay Center. Students will be able to take many Lakeland courses through the college's BlendEd format, a convenient, one-of-a-kind approach that allows students to decide on a class-by-class basis if they want to learn that week in the traditional classroom setting or online.
Many of the NWTC courses can be taken wherever students are most comfortable, including campuses in Green Bay, Marinette and Sturgeon Bay; Regional Learning Centers and sites throughout NWTC's District; open labs, or the nearest Internet-enabled computer. Scheduling options like day, evening, weekend, accelerated and self-paced classes provide solutions for crowded and variable schedules.
"This approach is about making college as non-intimidating and accessible as possible so that NWTC students can feel confident taking the next step right away," Gould said. "A lot of students, based on family or geographical limitations, can't 'go away' to school. Our program removes some of those traditional hurdles to a four-year degree."
Affordability is another advantage. Students can earn both degrees for about the same cost as attending four years at a state university, and financial aid is available.
The program also eliminates the need for credit transfers and other paperwork often related to moving from one school to another. Students will receive personalized advising from both NWTC and Lakeland.
NWTC and Lakeland hope to expand this program to include other degrees in the future, and Lakeland is working with other technical colleges in Wisconsin to develop similar programs.
"Higher education needs to focus more energy on finding ways to deliver an education to students on their time, based on their schedules," Gould said. "We are excited about partnering with NWTC to create a program that truly puts the needs of our students first, and we believe it's a model for the future of higher education."
Students can learn more about the Lakeland/NWTC interwoven business management program by:
- Contacting NWTC's Donna Meves at (920) 498-6872 or (800) 422-NWTC, ext. 6872 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or
- Contacting Lakeland's Erin Kohl at (920) 338-0992 or (888) 861-8255 or email@example.com or
- Going to the online information and printable brochure at www.lakeland.edu/nwtc
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