BATTLE CREEK, Mich.—Western Michigan University and Kellogg Community College have signed a major agreement that will create a smoother process for KCC graduates who transfer to WMU.
The institutional articulation agreement signed by representatives of KCC and WMU facilitates the transfer of students who complete an associate degree at the community college into a degree program at the University. The agreement, which outlines how credits earned at one school will transfer to another, helps students save time and money by minimizing the loss of credits and duplication of coursework.
"This partnership between two robust institutions is a victory for the many students who begin their college careers at KCC and intend to finish at WMU. Currently, most KCC students who intend to transfer go on to WMU," KCC President Mark O'Connell said. "Never before have the pathways from KCC to WMU been better designed, and never before has it been easier for a Bruin to become a Bronco."
"This is all about the student experience and ensuring that every class taken advances the student along a pathway to success," said Dr. Susan Stapleton, WMU's interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. "We've had a close working relationship with KCC for many years and our partnership has led to successful degree completion for hundreds of students. With this carefully structured agreement, we're making sure that pathway is absolutely seamless and every step they take puts them closer to their goal."
The agreement between KCC and WMU is a solution locally for what is a national challenge. According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report in 2017, students who transferred from one college to another between 2004 and 2009 lost, on average, an estimated 43 percent of their credits. When credits won't transfer, students face having to pay for and repeat courses at their next institution, which can delay their graduation. In many cases, the underlying problem is the absence of a comprehensive articulation agreement between the schools.
The KCC-WMU institutional articulation agreement is designed for students who follow a prescribed plan of study leading to an associate degree at KCC. The credits from each KCC program will be included in the total credit hours required for the WMU baccalaureate degree, thus saving students the confusion of determining which courses transfer and which do not. Transferrable credits from specific programs will be detailed in future program agreements, some of which are still in development.
KCC and WMU officials formally signed agreements for the following programs.
- Aerospace engineering
- Biomedical sciences
- Business administration
- Civil engineering
- Criminal justice — A.A.S in law enforcement
- Early childhood elementary education
- Economics — minor in history
- Economics — minor in philosophy
- Economics — minor in political science
- Economics — minor in sociology
- Elementary education
- Food service
- Mechanical engineering
- Nursing — B.S.N. full-time
- Nursing — B.S.N. full-time to part-time
- Nursing — B.S.N. part-time to part-time
- Public history
- Special education
"The institutional agreement we signed today lays the groundwork for the seamless transfer of credits from the degree programs at KCC to the degree programs at WMU," O'Connell said. "Future program agreements will align with the institutional framework, which provides for a deeper, more student-centered level of collaboration between KCC and WMU than we've had in the past."
Under the terms of the agreement, KCC and WMU will be jointly responsible for advising and assisting students and for maintaining collaboration among faculty, administrators and staff as program requirements evolve at each institution. Both schools have formed program-level committees to determine clear, articulated pathways for students.
"The increased faculty and staff collaboration between the two institutions will serve as our model moving forward," Stapleton says. "That close interaction will mean we can continually readjust to accommodate new programs as well as alterations to our existing programs - always with an eye on how such changes impact our students."
Macy Hancock, a KCC Gold Key Scholarship recipient who is graduating with an Associate in General Studies degree this month and transferring to WMU in the fall, said the agreement will help future students map out which KCC courses will transfer.
"I've liked KCC a lot. The professors are always there and available if you need help," said Hancock, a 2016 graduate from Harper Creek Community Schools. "I'm looking forward to Western because it's close by, it has affordable tuition and I really like the campus."
Students must meet standard admission, curriculum and graduation requirements of both institutions. Also, each institution will continue to maintain its own authority over its curriculum, course requirements, program requirements and degree requirements.
For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.