North Carolina A&T State University and Guilford Technical Community College have announced a new joint partnership that will give GTCC students an opportunity to apply for joint admission to N.C. A&T’s College of Engineering beginning in fall 2013.

Representatives from both institutions formalized the agreement on March 26 during an official signing of the documents on GTCC’s Greensboro campus.

The partnership is intended to improve access to undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, to provide coordinated services and activities in support of student retention and to increase graduation rates.

"N.C. A&T has long-been committed to the education of STEM professionals and leaders on the local, regional and national levels. This partnership with GTCC will enable the university to better meet our nation’s growing need for qualified STEM professionals," said Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr. of N.C. A&T. "A&T's vision is to become the institution of choice for some of the world’s best and brightest students and it is only natural for us to form strategic partnerships like the one we're announcing today with GTCC."

The co-admission agreement is the first of its kind for both institutions and for the state in the field of engineering. Only a few dual-enrolled programs currently exist between North Carolina’s public universities and community colleges. Agreements like this support efforts by the state’s community college and university systems to improve the completion rates of students and to align with the UNC system’s new strategic plan. 

“This new and exciting groundbreaking agreement supports several of GTCC’s major initiatives including our Completion by Design initiative we are leading for the state; our increasing focus on STEM programs to support economic development for Guilford County business and industry; and our continued cooperative efforts with the area’s higher education community,” said Randy Parker, president of GTCC. “It also provides a pathway to a bachelor’s degree at a lower cost for Guilford County citizens.”  

The partnership involves two components: A co-admission program agreement and an articulation agreement.

Under the new agreement, select students will be co-admitted to both GTCC and N.C. A&T simultaneously. In addition, a variety of benefits will be offered to co-admitted students including:

    • Coordinated federal and financial aid disbursement

    • One application fee for N.C. A&T

    • Special scholarship opportunities for Guilford County Schools graduates

    • Coordinated student and academic services

    • A seamless transition to N.C. A&T upper-division coursework for students who  maintain established academic standards during their first two years at GTCC

    • Access to co-curricular programs (e.g. internships, student clubs)

    • Coordinated degree completion

The curriculum articulation agreement will allow successful students to apply 65 credits towards bachelor’s degrees in civil or mechanical engineering at N.C. A&T’s College of Engineering, giving students junior standing upon transition. Five new lower division courses in engineering will be added to GTCC’s curriculum and include: Engineering Graphics, Introduction to Engineering, Engineering Statics, Engineering Dynamics and Engineering Materials.

Beth Pitonzo, vice president of instruction at GTCC, sees the co-admission agreement as an opportunity for GTCC students to complete the first two years of their coursework at a lower cost but with the full amenities afforded by both institutions. It also promotes a critical need to produce more engineers in the workforce locally and nationally.

“The United States is not producing enough engineers to meet the current demand, so anything we can do to increase the pipeline is important not just for the Triad but also the country,” Dr. Pitonzo said.

GTCC hopes to enroll up to 30 students in the co-admission program by fall 2013. Students will be required to satisfy specific admission requirements in order to participate. The details of the application process are currently in development and will be finalized in April. Information about the program will be broadly marketed in Guilford County Schools.

“This partnership holds tremendous promise for our students and our community,” said Maurice O. “Mo” Green, Guilford County Schools (GCS) superintendent. “The more we can open doors to higher education for our graduates, the better.”

Robin N. Coger, professor and dean of N.C. A&T’s College of Engineering, says that the new agreement will provide a path for the talented minds who live and work in the community and will further grow a well-educated STEM workforce.   

“Today's agreement gives GTCC graduates a clear roadmap to follow to expedite their completion of North Carolina A&T’s bachelor's of science degrees in engineering,” Coger said. “It is an important step to ensuring that key stakeholders in the city of Greensboro have a pipeline source of talent to fuel the regional and statewide economic growth that is so important to us all.”