An agreement signed Tuesday will allow students who earn an associate's degree in Ogeechee Technical College's Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management program to complete a Bachelors degree in the Hotel/Restaurant Management program at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.
Officials from both schools gathered in the boardroom of Ogeechee Tech to announce the agreement and explain how it will help the academic missions of each institution to provide more educational opportunities.
“This agreement is all about the students. Opening doors and removing barriers for them,” said Dr. Dawn Cartee, president of Ogeechee Tech.
The articulation agreement allows Ogeechee Tech and USC-Beaufort to match coursework in the hospitality program at each school. It will help students make a smooth transition when transferring from Ogeechee Tech, a two-year college, to USC-Beaufort, a four-year institution. The agreement means a student's AA degree in hospitality from OTC will be accepted in its entirety by USC-Beaufort.
“(The agreement allows us) to have that seamless transition for students from a two-year program into our baccalaureate program,” said Dr. Jane T. Upshaw, chancellor of USC-Beaufort. “Thank you for inviting us here to work with you and your students to further the educational opportunities in the area of hospitality.”
Cartee said there are currently 30 students enrolled in OTC's hospitality program that will be eligible once they earn their AA degrees to transfer to USC-Beaufort.
“This articulation agreement really is a mark in time,” said Dr. Dale Grant, chairman of OTC's Board of Directors. “I've worked in academe. I know how difficult it is for students to transition from institution to institution. So, to have an easy transition, a smooth transition from a two-year degree to a four-year degree is just fantastic.”
Currently, USC-Beaufort has reciprocity agreements with Chatham, Effingham and Bryan Counties that allow residents of those counties to pay tuition rates as if they were South Carolina residents. Upshaw said it would take the university systems and the legislatures of both states to enact legislation that would allow Bulloch residents the same privilege.
“It could happen, but that would be in the future,” Upshaw said. “There are scholarships available and securing a job in South Carolina would make a student eligible for residency immediately. I don't see it as a barrier.”
Tommy David, president of First Southern Bank in Statesboro, is a member of the State Board of Technical and Adult Education. He said he was “excited” about the possibilities of future articulation agreements.
“The state board of technical colleges has set a very high priority on expanding articulation agreements between the technical colleges and the four-year colleges and universities,” he said. “We think we should provide every Georgia student a seamless education system that makes it easier for all students to achieve the highest level of education possible. Articulation agreements are in the best interests of all students and all colleges. We look forward to many more agreements like this so students can seamlessly pursue a baccalaureate degree.”
Cartee said she signed the agreement along with Dr. Charlene Lamar, two months ago because she was so “thrilled” with the concept. Upshaw and Dr. Harvey Varnet signed the documents for USC-Beaufort formalizing the agreement in the OTC boardroom on Tuesday. And Upshaw said she, too, was thrilled.
“Today's signing is an example of two institutions that focus on ways to work collaboratively to better the lives of students and the same time respond to regional needs and draw upon regional strengths,” Upshaw said. “Hospitality is a critical industry for all of us. Those students at Ogeechee Tech who aspire to continue their education at the baccalaureate level, will be able to attend USCB in our Hospitality/Management Program. The education they receive at both institutions will prepare them to have careers, not just jobs, in the hospitality industry.”