Lourdes and Owens offer students chance to earn degrees fasterWritten by Tony Gonzalez | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A new partnership between Lourdes College and Owens Community College will allow students waiting for clinical seats in Health Science programs at Owens to begin earning a baccalaureate degree at Lourdes.
Due to a limited number of clinical seats, students can wait nearly two years at Owens to pursue Associate of Applied Science degrees in Health Information Technology, Occupational Therapy Assistance, Radiography, and the Surgical Program.
“We have a number of programs for which students have been accepted, but because of the finite number of clinical spots, they have a wait,” said Janell Lang, dean of the school of health sciences at Owens. “In one breath I’m giving them great news, in the next breath I’m saying, ‘but you can’t start right away.’ “
Through the partnership, students waiting for clinical seats will be encouraged to enroll at Lourdes to begin work on a Bachelor of Arts-Interdisciplinary Studies degree.
Lang said 60/60 maximizes a student’s time and financial resources.
“We know students shop around and we thought we could develop a system to plan for their associate’s and bachelor’s degrees,” said Janet Robinson, vice president for academic affairs at Lourdes. “We think we’ve developed a plan where they can maximize all their options.”
Traditionally, a student would complete general credits at Owens, wait for a clinical seat, and graduate before changing institutions to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“They can wait to go to school,” Robinson said. “We’re saying while you wait, why don’t you work on your bachelor’s degree.”
Students who choose to enroll at Lourdes will design a liberal arts degree with a concentration, similar to a major, said Mary Douglas, director of the student advising center at Lourdes. The concentration will be designed to focus on skills related to eventual health science work at Owens, and will allow students to transfer 60 credit hours.
Robinson and Lang said some students have chosen to stay enrolled at Owens, often taking classes that do not count toward a degree. Robinson said this route could push students past their financial aid borrowing limit
“We don’t want [students] using up their borrowing limit on their associate degree,” she said.
Wayne Schwarz, selected health admissions director of Owens, reported 171 students are accepted and waiting for the four Health Sciences programs. He said the future of 60/60 does not depend on how many students take advantage of it, and he is unsure how many will from the pool of 171. Owens will supply the wait-listed students with a letter informing of the partnership and Lourdes will place an advisor on the Owens campus.
Douglas said the Health Sciences programs are attractive to students who see the possibility for a job immediately after graduation.
“Often times they find they can’t advance without that bachelors degree,” she said. “It behooves them to get started on the bachelor’s.”