Thomas U. President Dr. Gary Bonvillian, Bainbridge State President Dr. Richard Carvajal signed a memorandum of understanding
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -
Information from Thomas University and Bainbridge State College-
Thomas University President Dr. Gary Bonvillian and Bainbridge State College President Dr. Richard Carvajal signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday, June 13, forming a partnership that will allow Thomas University to offer classes leading to bachelor's degrees in education on Bainbridge State College's campus starting Fall Semester 2013.
"This partnership provides a terrific opportunity for students at Bainbridge and the southwest region of the state to earn their bachelor's degree and teacher certification through Thomas University," said Dr. Ann Landis, Provost and Executive Vice President. "Bainbridge State College provides an excellent associate degree program in Education, and Thomas University has an excellent reputation educating outstanding certified teachers to serve our region."
The partnership is expected to increase the number of teachers in southwest Georgia.
"This agreement between Bainbridge State College and Thomas University will enable numerous students to pursue their goal of becoming a teacher," Carvajal said. "While students who are interested in teaching at all grade levels will be able to train in this program, because of current needs in the local school system, we are especially excited that prospective middle and high school teachers from our region will have an opportunity to train for a career much closer to home. This is clearly a valuable partnership that will benefit all of southwest Georgia."
Bainbridge State student Melanie Simmons of Cairo looks forward to the possibility of completing her degree under this arrangement.
"I have two small children, and I have to have time with them during the week," said Simmons, who works part time at Cairo High School. Instead of the chaos she was anticipating for trying to complete her degree without this access, Simmons said she is excited and ready to start her baccalaureate studies. "On the weekends, they can be with their dad while I can come to school. It's a great thing for me."
Valley Rogers, Bainbridge State assistant professor of education, said the response from her students has been very positive, especially non-traditional students who have been out of high school five or more years.
"This provides accessibility to a quality education program where our students can get their bachelor's degree in Bainbridge, be certified and be ready to teach when they graduate," Rogers said. "Since 58 percent of our students are non-traditional, this accessibility is a huge factor for them in going on to get a four-year degree."
The MOU gives Bainbridge State students and graduates first priority for admission to courses and programs conducted by Thomas University faculty at the Bainbridge campus. Bainbridge State will provide the lower division courses, and TU will provide courses for the upper division. Even though the TU classes will be held in Bainbridge, students attending them will be responsible to TU for tuition and fees, financial aid, admissions and academic advising services.
The partnership with BSC emphasizes Thomas University's commitment to providing quality degree programs that also fit students' schedules.
"In just four semesters, students can earn the 57 additional credits needed to complete their Bachelor of Science Degree and obtain Georgia certification," said Dr. Susan Lynn, Professor and Chair of the Division of Education at TU. "We believe this model will provide a quality teacher preparation program while meeting the needs of those students who find weekday and night classes in constant conflict with family and work obligations. This model gives students the opportunity to learn with classmates and their professors in the classroom and online as well as complete field experiences at locations convenient to them."
Thomas University degrees offered under the MOU will be Bachelor of Science in early childhood education, middle grades education or secondary education.
Marvin Patterson of Colquitt is a Bainbridge State student how looks forward to continuing his bachelor's degree in middle school education. The 57-year-old will complete his Associate of Arts degree in July and had thought of going to another college to finish his four-year degree, but was not sure if it was feasible.
"When the proposal came up to be closer to home and to meet once a week on Saturdays, I liked the idea very much," Patterson said.
For more information about Thomas University's Education degree program at Bainbridge State College, contact Beth Poulk, Administrative Assistant, TU Division of Education, at (229) 227-6975.
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