“Thanks to this program, I’m going to graduate from one of the most prestigious universities in the country,” said Lonnie Elrod, Jr., who earned his bachelor’s of interdisciplinary studies in December 2013.
TCC and the University of Virginia offer an adult degree completion program exclusively for TCC students. The program is geared toward the adult student with 60 credits of transferable college work, 15 of them from TCC, prior. Students must be at least four years removed from high school.
“I’m older and I can definitely appreciate the experience, and now I feel comfortable telling my viewpoint,” said Julie Kennedy, also a 2013 graduate. “I don’t think I had a viewpoint at 21.”
Kennedy enjoyed the diversity of classes in business, humanities, social sciences and the liberal arts – “everything from emotional intelligence to African-American dance to history to classes in history, religion and politics,” she said.
“This is a very writing intensive program; it’s not get a textbook and memorize facts,” said Penny Lewis, coordinator of recruitment and academic services for the University of Virginia. “Students might be reading five or six books and analyzing various viewpoints and writing about all of it.”
Classes, all taught by University of Virginia faculty, are in the evening to accommodate working students. Some classes can be taken online, and those are virtual. Lewis, who has an office on the Virginia Beach Campus, holds several information sessions during the year.
“We make sure the education they’re getting here is comparable to what they’d be getting on-grounds in Charlottesville,” she said. Students are required to be in Charlottesville for one orientation and again for a library lesson. Each student is assigned a peer mentor to facilitate the process.
The program’s interdisciplinary nature makes the focus on critical thinking, decision making and communications. Often the students in the program need a bachelor’s degree to advance professionally. Some need the additional college credit to apply to graduate or law school.
The final semester of the program requires students to write significant research papers and present them. Last fall’s Capstone Project topics ranged from the impact of Homer’s work on ideas of virtue in the Classical Age to nutrition education efforts in low income communities to the academic excellence and subsequent failure of Northampton County public schools.
Elrod’s was titled “E-Commerce for Small Business”; Kennedy studied “Adolescent Parenting: Availability and Effectiveness of Resources for Mother and Child.”
“I tell students all the time there are quicker, faster, easier ways to get a bachelor’s,” Lewis said. “You complete this program because you want that U.Va. degree.”
Interested in the program? Attend the next information session on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. in Building A, Room 211 at the Portsmouth Campus. Additional sessions will be held throughout the spring semester. Students can also email Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 757-822-7486.