The presidents of Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky University signed an agreement while in Hazard on Monday for this latest venture, called “Associate to Baccalaureate Degree Pathway: Collaborative Regional Education Program,” and as its name implies, it specifically targets students of UCM or Hazard Community and Technical College who have already obtained an associate in applied science degree so they can also earn a bachelor’s degree locally from either of the schools, either online or via classes offered at sites in Jackson, Manchester or Hazard.
MSU President Dr. Wayne Andrews said this new program is an exciting opportunity to increase educational attainment, but it also gives students a chance to do so without leaving their home communities.
“They’re not going to have to travel to Richmond or Morehead, they can do it online, they can do blended courses face-to-face here (in Hazard),” he said. “That will have a very positive and powerful effect.”
The degree being offered is termed a baccalaureate of professional studies. Though the programs of Morehead and EKU differ only slightly, Dr. Andrews noted that the credits will be fully transferable between the schools, and students working with advisors can develop a schedule of classes to build a focus area for the degree.
“For example, if the student wants to have a heavy management component, or have an accounting focus or something like that, that’s all possible within this particular framework,” Dr. Andrews explained.
This collaboration will play an important role in allowing local students who otherwise may not have the chance to pursue a bachelor’s degree to do so, added EKU President Dr. Doug Whitlock, while it also promises to prepare them for particular careers in their communities.
“A good part of this is aimed at helping better prepare people not to just be technically proficient, but to also give them the depth of education for a baccalaureate degree that will enable them to really become leaders in their chosen professions,” Whitlock said.
But perhaps even more important is the cooperation both MSU and EKU are displaying, which Whitlock said will be most important in helping to develop the educational attainment of southeastern Kentucky, a region that lags behind the rest of the state in such figures.
“When you look at the challenges throughout eastern Kentucky – the area is so very important to both Morehead State and to EKU – we’re not going to get the job done if we don’t cooperate and collaborate,” he said. “There is just more work than any one institution can do. So there’s a great power to this kind of collaborative venture.”
While this program will be an important one for students locally, it also could very well play an even more significant role for the region, explained Hazard Community and Technical College President Dr. Steve Greiner, by giving local students an opportunity to remain in the region to pursue their careers rather than moving to other areas of Kentucky or to other states.
“This partnership makes it possible that no only are the students being educated here, our goal is to keep them here,” he said. “I think this is one of the key ways that we’ll be bale to do that, is to keep students in the area.”
Additional information about the Pathway program can be found online at www.moreheadstate.edu/ps, or at www.eku.edu.