Officials signed agreements Tuesday to ensure that students completing associate degrees in criminal justice, logistics management and information technology at Ogeechee Technical College can continue – without loss of time or credits – toward bachelor’s degrees at Georgia Southern University.
Although these particular “articulation agreements” are new, the areas of cooperation are not. Ogeechee Tech already had an agreement linking its Logistics Management program to Georgia Southern’s bachelor’s degree programs in Logistics and Intermodal Transportation. Previous agreements also joined the Statesboro-based technical college’s associate degree programs in Criminal Justice Technology and Information Technology to bachelor’s degree programs at Armstrong State University.
But that was before Armstrong ceased to exist as a separate university, with its Savannah and Hinesville campuses consolidated into Georgia Southern at the beginning of 2018.
“So these are kind of repackaged post-consolidation,” said OTC President Lori Durden.
“And specific to Ogeechee and Georgia Southern,” added GSU President Kyle Marrero.
They were interviewed together after signing the agreements in front of staff members and journalists in the main lobby of Ogeechee Tech’s Joseph E. Kennedy Building. OTC Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Ryan Foley and GSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carl Reiber also signed each of the agreements.
The job market
A degree in criminal justice can help prepare a student for a career in law enforcement or a related field, or to go on to law school. At Georgia Southern, the department is called Criminal Justice and Criminology. Information technology jobs, well known in any company with an “I.T.” department, involve building and maintaining computer networks, websites, databases and other systems for handling information.
Logistics has to do with the management of supplies, storage and transportation. The GS Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management website notes the university’s “proximity to the Port of Savannah and Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.”
A look at the regional job market indicates why these three disciplines have been a focus for streamlining students’ opportunities to advance, Durden said.
“In all three of these disciplines there are good jobs to be had in this area of the state,” she said. “Logistics, with the expansion of the ports, it seems like that’s a no-brainer and information systems, obviously….”
“Logistics and IT go hand-in-hand because logistic solutions are often tech solutions…,” Marrero said. “So for us, these are really important, if we can create that seamless integrity in terms of transition on the baccalaureate and then also for the job market to align us with the port, the I-16 corridor, and all that can happen there through economic development.”
Each agreement represents a bundle of OTC courses guaranteed to be transferred and count toward a student’s progress in the corresponding program at Georgia Southern, he said. That guarantee only applies if the student meets Ogeechee Tech’s grade and credit requirements for an associate degree.
“If our students choose to graduate with an associate’s degree, even if they just choose to go straight into the workforce, they may at some point come back and want to advance their education, and to be able to pick up as a junior working toward a bachelor’s degree, I mean, it’s just the right thing to do for students,” Durden said.
Reiber noted that Georgia Southern also offers graduate degrees in each of these fields.
“These are also three areas where students can start really thinking about it in high school and then they can step up to each level and there’s great jobs and careers in all of them,” he said. “With various levels of education, they can advance that career, and so it’s the perfect pathway, frankly, all the way to a PhD.”
Of the three programs, information technology, followed by criminal justice, are the most popular at both the technical college and the university. In the 2019 academic year, which concluded this summer, Ogeechee Tech had 107 students in its I.T. program, 92 in criminal justice and 26 in logistics, Foley reported.
At Georgia Southern, the I.T. program in the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing had 720 undergraduate and 15 master’s degree students enrolled last spring. The Criminal Justice and Criminology program in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences enrolled 560 undergraduate students and 31 master’s degree students.
Meanwhile, the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Department in the Parker College of Business had 353 undergraduate students enrolled. It also has a new doctoral program, with seven students working to receive their PhD.
Reiber had GS Director of Communications Jennifer Wise supply these numbers.
More to come
For other programs, Ogeechee Tech and Georgia Southern are working on a few more articulation agreements, which the officials said should be completed relatively quickly with agreements between other colleges and universities available as models.
“We’ll be back, hopefully shortly, as we nail down another two or three agreements, and then we’ll continue to see where we can partner and collaborate as we moved forward,” Reiber said. “So this is the start of a lot more.”
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.