The toughest decision you will have to make is whether to have two graduation parties.
Moraine Park Technical College and Lakeland College signed five agreements on Oct. 15 creating programs in accounting, marketing, business-to-business marketing, business management and administrative assistant/specialized administration. The five new programs allow students to simultaneously earn a Moraine Park associate degree and Lakeland bachelor's degree.
"Educational institutions have been talking about the need for these types of transfer agreements for some time and, with this interwoven agreement with Lakeland, it has become a reality for Moraine Park students," said Dr. Gayle Hytrek, Moraine Park president. "We are very excited to provide our students with a cost-effective way to earn their bachelor's degree without leaving their community.”
Lakeland now has 33 interwoven degree programs with four Wisconsin technical colleges. The programs are unique agreements in Wisconsin because students may attend both colleges at once, mixing technical classes with humanities in the same semester. The program includes innovative agreements on joint admissions, counseling, financial aid and other services with increased student access.
“This is an enormously unique agreement in higher education,” said Lakeland President Stephen A. Gould.
“It’s unique in its complete seamlessness and predictability. There are no additional resources needed, because it restructures the resources that are already there. It’s unique in that it is a public and private institution collaborating.”
Dan Ensalaco, Moraine Park vice president of academics and economic development, said the agreement has benefits beyond Moraine Park’s students.
"This newest collaboration between Lakeland and Moraine Park provides our residents with new career laddering opportunities that better reflect the realities of today's job market and encourages life-long learning,” said Ensalaco. “In particular, we are pleased in the way this new program meets the needs of the adult learner. Meeting those educational needs is going to be key to keeping Wisconsin competitive with other states and the rest of the world. Lakeland has been a leader in articulating programs with the Wisconsin Technical College System. Moraine Park is pleased to sign this agreement and looks forward to developing new partnerships with Lakeland that push the envelope of post-secondary education in Wisconsin.”
Unlike a traditional 2+2 agreement, in which students complete a two-year degree before starting their four-year degree, students will be able to attend both colleges from day one, beginning with a joint application.
Full-time students can finish both degrees in four years. Both Lakeland and Moraine Park courses will be taken each year, with more Moraine Park coursework coming early in a student’s academic plan.
Because students can take classes at each college each semester, students are likely to earn a Moraine Park associate’s degree just before completing the Lakeland bachelor’s degree; the exact time will vary from student to student.
Convenience will be a key. Lakeland will offer some of its courses at Moraine Park and most will be offered online. Students will also be able to take many Lakeland courses through the college’s BlendEd format, a convenient, one-of-a-kind approach that allows students to decide on a class-by-class basis if they want to learn that week in the traditional classroom setting or online.
“This approach is about making college as non-intimidating and accessible as possible so that Moraine Park students can feel confident taking the next step right away,” Gould said. “A lot of students, based on family or geographical limitations, can’t ‘go away’ to school. Our program removes some of those traditional hurdles to a four-year degree.”
Affordability is another advantage. Students can earn both degrees for about the same cost as attending four years at a state university, and financial aid is available.
The program also eliminates the need for credit transfers and other paperwork often related to moving from one school to another. Students will receive personalized advising from both Moraine Park and Lakeland.
“We are excited about partnering with Lakeland in this unique initiative to streamline the transfer process so our students, if they so choose, can work on both degrees simultaneously without having to duplicate course work,” said Pat Olson, Moraine Park's dean of business. “It's a plus for our students.”
Lakeland has interwoven degree programs with four other technical colleges: 14 programs with North Central Technical College in Wausau, 11 with Midstate Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids, two with Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton and one with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
The interwoven degree stems from results of a 2005 student survey at NWTC in Green Bay and meetings between the presidents of those two schools.
The survey showed that 61 percent of 719 students said they planned to earn a bachelor's degree after completing coursework at NWTC, and 80 percent said they would be more likely to transfer to a four-year college if courses they took at NWTC would transfer to a bachelor's degree program.
Lakeland continues to work with other technical colleges in Wisconsin to develop similar programs.
“Higher education needs to focus more energy on finding ways to deliver an education to students on their time, based on their schedules,” Gould said. “We are excited about partnering with Moraine Park to create a program that truly puts the needs of our students first, and we believe it’s a model for the future of higher education.”
Students can learn more about the Lakeland/Moraine Park interwoven degrees by contacting Pat Olson of Moraine Park at firstname.lastname@example.org or (920) 924-3333, or Lakeland’s Fox Cities Center at email@example.com or (920) 727-0777.
Moraine Park, with campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend and regional sites in Ripon and Hartford, is one of 16 colleges comprising the Wisconsin Technical College System. The College offers more than 100 associate degrees, technical diplomas and certificates as well as apprenticeship training and customized training for business and industry. To find out more, visit www.morainepark.edu.
Lakeland is a four-year independent college affiliated with the United Church of Christ whose principal campus is located in Sheboygan County. The college serves over 4,000 students – 958 in its undergraduate campus-based day program, approximately 2,300 at its seven evening Kellett School Centers located throughout Wisconsin and through its Internet-based Lakeland College Online program, nearly 700 in its four graduate programs and over 200 at its two-year campus in Tokyo, Japan. The college, founded in 1862 by German immigrants, is in the midst of nine straight years of record enrollment. Learn more at www.lakeland.edu.