Back row, from left: Thomas Stout, TCC’s dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Todd Estes, director of TCC’s Apprenticeship Institute; Kellie Sorey, TCC’s associate vice president for academics; Brian Payne, ODU’s vice provost for academic affairs; Jane Bray, ODU’s dean of the Darden School of Education; Tammi Dice, associate dean for undergraduate education at the Darden School; Daniel DeMarte, TCC’s executive vice president for academic and student affairs. Front row: Ellen Neufeldt, ODU’s vice president for student engagement and enrollment services; Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani, TCC president
Thanks to a new transfer agreement between Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University, adult and non-traditional students can earn college credit for their knowledge, training and skills in the workplace.
The agreement aims to address the growing needs of local business and industry partners by providing college credit to skilled workers who often need formal education to advance their careers.
Old Dominion’s Ellen Neufeldt, vice president for student engagement and enrollment services, joined Edna Baehre-Kolovani, president of TCC, at a signing ceremony on May 21.
Students who earn TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies with a Specialization in Technical Supervision, and have significant and documented occupational experience and technical training, can seamlessly transition to ODU’s industrial technology major, offered through the Darden College of Education.
“Together with Old Dominion, we have taken an innovative approach to breaking down the barriers that often inhibit adult learners with significant technical skills from furthering their education,” said President Kolovani. “We’ve created an academic pathway that they can carry over to the doctorate level if they choose.”
Various businesses, industries and agencies, such as Virginia Natural Gas and apprenticeship partners, approached TCC to explore how the college can help highly-skilled employees bridge the gap between professional expertise and formal education.
Kellie Sorey, TCC’s associate vice president for academics, said TCC welcomes opportunities to meet employers’ needs in innovative ways.
“The Technical Studies associate degree with the Technical Supervision specialization will allow TCC and ODU to recognize and reward individuals for their unique and significant work experiences in business and industry, the military and registered apprenticeship programs,” she said.
Those with documented technical skills and professional experience can receive nearly half of the associate degree with advanced standing credit, “putting them well on the way to completing the associate and bachelor degrees.” ODU will accept all credits awarded by TCC, she said.
Every student will take a new gateway course, co-created and co-taught by TCC and ODU faculty, during which their knowledge, skills and abilities will be assessed in order to award advanced standing credit.
Jim Kibler, president of Virginia Natural Gas, said his rapidly growing industry has many good employees who need formal education to advance.
“The ability to apply on-the-job experience toward furthering their education is a tremendous opportunity for our talented energy professionals to achieve their personal and professional goals,” he said. “We’re committed to rewarding and retaining an inclusive workforce to ensure our customers receive the most responsive, reliable service possible. After all, we are our customers too.”
Todd Estes, director of the Apprenticeship Institute at TCC, added, “This agreement represents an ideal intersection between higher education and workplace learning. It puts in place the framework, the assessment methods, where individuals can come in with significant experience or prior learning and actually be rewarded and acknowledged for what learning has already taken place.”
“I am very pleased to see the positive result of the strong partnership between ODU and TCC,” said ODU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Austin Agho. “This innovative, collaborative articulation agreement provides eligible TCC graduates the opportunity to seamlessly transfer into the bachelor of science occupational and technical studies degree at Old Dominion University.
Petros Katsioloudis, chair of ODU’s STEM Education and Professional Studies Department, and a leader in creating the new agreement, said it meets a clear need.
“Currently, the industrial technology program enrolls roughly 120 students and is projected to add 300 students over the next two years,” Katsioloudis said. “We are extremely excited and confident that the new model will better serve the skilled workforce in our area and nationwide.”
Tammi Dice, associate dean for undergraduate education at the Darden College of Education, added that the College “extends the benefits of higher education to corporations. Ultimately, students can minimize unnecessary coursework based on prior learning assessments, which allows them to re-enter the workforce with a degree sooner and with advanced skill,” she said.
Those who have completed registered apprenticeships, active duty and transitioning military, and employees of companies with highly structured and robust training programs are ideal candidates.
“I can’t wait to get my journeymen, my employees enrolled in this program,” said Guy St. John, apprenticeship program manager for Oceaneering International. “ It’s going to be beneficial to the industry. It’s going to be beneficial to our community. It’s going to be beneficial to the nation.”
For details on TCC’s new associate degree, visit www.tcc.edu/technical-supervision.