Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
Valdosta State University president Dr. Bill McKinney and president of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Dr. Ray Perren met Thursday morning to sign an articulation agreement for a new Pathways Program.
The Pathways Program will allow students who graduate with an Associate of Applied Science from Wiregrass to transfer directly in to one of two bachelorette programs — B.S. in Organizational Leadership and BAS in Technical Studies — at VSU.
"We've aligned these so [Wiregrass graduates] can finish a four-year degree," said associate vice president of enrollment for VSU Andy Clark.
The Pathways Program, a part of Gov. Nathan Deal's Complete College Georgia, will create a direct path from one of 27 (24 for the B.S. and all 27 for the BAS) associate degree programs at Wiregrass to the two programs at VSU that can be completed as a traditional or online student.
"Both are fully online," said Clark.
According to Perren, this articulation and especially the online aspect will be beneficial to all Wiregrass campuses as there are some students as far as 65 miles from Valdosta.
While there are several articulation agreements between higher education institutions across the state, none are as direct as this one.
"This is a very, very comprehensive program," said Wiregrass vice president of academic affairs Dr. Ron O'Meara.
Often, those with an associate's degree have credits that may not fully transfer to a four-year institution.
"We've created content pathways that only need 60 to 65 credits to complete the degree," said Clark. "We're working with broad base A.S. programs."
Not many colleges and universities have a relationship like VSU and Wiregrass do and because of that partnership, the students have greatly benefited. According to Perren, this is one of the most broad based articulation agreements that he's seen.
This program will be highly beneficial to Wiregrass graduates who are looking to advance their education, career and pay-grade.
"This makes them highly promotable," said Clark.
While Wiregrass has made it a mission to graduate not just students, but gainfully employed members of the workforce, their partnership with VSU is a representation of both schools desire to grow Georgia's educated workforce.
According to McKinney, VSU's relationship with Wiregrass is imperative.
"Our relationship with Wiregrass . . . is a very, very important part of what we do with Complete College Georgia," said McKinney. "We can aid those students to a quicker path to that credential."
VSU is currently working with Wiregrass to recruit students for the program that will start this summer.