An articulation agreement signed Thursday between Ogeechee Technical College and Georgia Southern University will make the path to earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering at Georgia Southern an even more uniform process.
OTC President Dr. Dawn Cartee and interim GSU President Dr. Jean Bartels signed the agreement that allows the transfer of credit to Georgia Southern in certain courses taken by students in Ogeechee Tech’s Basic Mechatronics Specialist certificate, Manufacturing Operations Specialist certificate and the pending Manufacturing Technology associate degree program.
“These articulation agreements provide more opportunities for students,” Cartee said. “Whether they’re starting in high school; whether they’re starting at the technical level; or for those who are interested into going straight into the baccalaureate degree. The whole purpose for this in general is to make things seamless, so there’s no duplication as far as time or money.”
Beginning with the fall semester that starts later this month, Ogeechee Tech will offer the Basic Mechatronics Specialist certificate and Manufacturing Operations Specialist certificate, which will prepare students for “work-ready” entry level positions in manufacturing.
Also, beginning Monday, 15 Statesboro High School students will start earning the engineering-related Basic Mechatronics certificate in courses taught by Ogeechee Technical College faculty on the high school campus. An articulation agreement between OTC and the Bulloch school system was signed in April setting up the course being offered at Statesboro High.
The students will be dual-enrolled, receiving both high school and college credit. The certificate could stand on its own for high school graduates going right to work, or it will fit into an associate degree program at Ogeechee Tech.
For students who want to go further, the associate degree program, following Thursday’s completed articulation agreement, now can plug directly into Georgia Southern's new bachelor's degree program in Manufacturing Engineering.
“The focus of education has shifted from thinking about students starting over with a lot of duplication and problems,” Bartels said. “Here at Georgia Southern, and most of the institutions in our system, we have developed an understanding that we have to be looking for ways to help students achieve what their ultimate goals are. We are looking at allowing students to achieve those goals in a much simpler and less complex way.”
In advance of Thursday’s signing, representatives from Ogeechee Tech and Georgia Southern held several meetings to align the curriculum for specific courses to keep students from having to repeat classes in which they already were successful.
“Our governor (Nathan Deal), our ultimate boss, has made it perfectly clear that through the Complete College Georgia program that we have been charged to educate and train students without duplication,” Cartee said.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 39 percent of students who transfer to another institution lose all of their credits. Dr. Charlene Lamar, OTC’s executive vice president for Academic Affairs said the articulation agreement spells out a clear path for students who want to transfer from Ogeechee Tech to Georgia Southern, with the potential of 90 percent of transferring students having acceptable credits.
Back in June, Ogeechee Tech and Georgia Southern signed an agreement to allow students who complete an associate degree in logistics at OTC to progress to GSU’s bachelor’s degree program in the same major.
The articulation agreements became possible one year ago when Ogeechee Tech achieved Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation.
“These articulation agreements have become extremely important for us in all areas of study, but especially ones where we have students who have careers that are hands on, performance kind of degrees, and giving them an opportunity to exceed beyond their dreams,” Bartels said.
Cartee said she expects to add more transfer credits to the Manufacturing Engineering agreement and “there will likely be other articulation agreements developed (between Ogeechee Tech and Georgia Southern) in the future.”