In a signing ceremony Wednesday morning at Independence Community College, Pittsburg State University and ICC formalized their partnership on a new advisement initiative that will help students ensure they are efficient with their time and their tuition dollars.
The “Pitt State NOW” program allows students at ICC who anticipate attending PSU to obtain real-time degree audits from PSU and to have access to PSU advisors.
"It essentially removes all of the normal barriers that prevent students from moving seamlessly to their chosen institution of Pittsburg State," said ICC President Dan Barwick during the signing ceremony.
It's the latest in a series of agreements between the two institutions, he added, "that serve our students very, very well."
"The idea is to create opportunities for our students," Barwick said. "ICC is in the top 1 percent in the country for helping students meet their stated educational goals and this is part of why — because we create paths to allow them succeed to succeed in whatever they have chosen for themselves."
ICC is the first community college to partner with PSU in this type of advisement program, although other institutions have expressed interest.
Barwick noted that every partnership is only as good as the partners, and described his own experience as a parent on a tour of PSU with his daughter, a senior in high school, last Wednesday — the day before Thanksgiving.
"You'd expect to find the campus deserted...no, the admission department is full of folks, they're welcoming, they're helpful, they're friendly. We were shown around the campus by an ICC grad who then moved along to Pitt State and then finally now is an employee of Pitt State..." he said. "What was particularly interesting was her obvious enthusiasm and admiration for Pitt State..."
"...I know a sales job when I hear it. It was not just a sales job – she really truly believed in the mission of Pitt State and what it had to offer students," said Barwick.
During the signing ceremony, PSU President Steve Scott described the longstanding connection between the two institutions. Scott also noted that he taught at a community college for seven years, an experience that was important to his career development and one he said he took with him to PSU.
Scott said PSU has as many as 500 community college students transfer to the university each fall, and noted that the admissions office put into place specialized programming for those students.
"We want to make sure we support them and help them be successful..." Scott said.
The advisement agreement with ICC will bolster that program.
"We want you to know from the very first day you enroll (at ICC), the hours and exactly how they'll transfer, and make it truly seamless," Scott said. "Higher ed is a big investment, so let's be as efficient with it as we can, for both the students' sake and parents' sake, and those who are funding it..."
ICC is in the top four institutions that transfer students to PSU.
Students who sign up for the Pitt State NOW program will be assigned an academic department at PSU and have access to the Gorilla User System (GUS) which will allow them to perform degree audits.
A reverse transfer clause is also included in the Pitt State NOW agreement. This will allow students who transfer to PSU before earning their associate degree to apply PSU course credit back to ICC in order to receive their 2-year degree.
“We want to ensure students receive credit for their coursework,” said Melinda Roelfs, PSU director of admission. “Earning your associate degree is an important milestone on your journey towards your bachelor’s degree.”
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