WCC, COD create Pathways plan for 4-year degrees

By Cathy Janek For Chronicle Media


One of the first courses in the LatinX program is Introduction to Latin American Civilization and Culture which meets on Wednesday evenings at Waubonsee Community College’s downtown Aurora campus. (Photo courtesy of WCC)

A new LatinX Studies Pathways program at Waubonsee Community College is part of a growing trend in community colleges around the country to provide an opportunity for students to zero in on their interests with a goal of helping them earn degrees in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

Due to its large Hispanic student population and designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution, Waubonsee Community College’s Sharon Garcia, assistant dean for communications, humanities and arts, said, the college “reached out to the students” and this new Latin studies program is “meeting the need of students who are interested in learning more about Latin American culture and how it is connected to the United States.”

One of the first courses in the LatinX program is Introduction to Latin American Civilization and Culture which meets on Wednesday evening at Waubonsee’s downtown Aurora campus.

The time and location were chosen, Garcia said, to meet the needs of students who would be interested in taking the class, but who have work commitments during the day.

She said the course will delve into the LatinX experience in the United Sates including in Aurora and Chicago with the use of literature, visual arts, cinema, and music.

“In considering this program, we were really thinking about students who would be transferring to Aurora University or Northern Illinois University.  Both of these institutions have Latin American studies programs,” Garcia said

Sharon Garcia

The LatinX pathways program is just one of many offered at Waubonsee Community College, said Sarah Kocunik, graduation and transfer coordinator at Waubonsee Community College. “We found that over time, students don’t necessarily want to have a thousand choices in terms of classes. At this point, they prefer to be given a sheet that shows their plan,” she said.

When a student chooses his or her major, Kocunik said, they may not know where they would like to transfer, but they know what classes to take.

The addition of formal transfer agreements with many four-year universities and Waubonsee  eases that transition, Kocunik added.

In recent years, community colleges have taken aim at reducing the financial burden of attending four year universities by forming agreements that streamlining the transfer process process; thanks in part to the Illinois Articulation Initiative, which was put in place to ease the successful transfer of course credits from one participating institution to another.

“There was a call for accountability to make sure that the courses students were taking at a junior college were received at a four-year college,” according to Dr. Lisa Stock, the associate vice president of Academic Affairs with the College of DuPage.

As some four-year universities struggle with enrollment, they are “becoming more open to building these types of transfer programs,” she added.

Dr. Lisa Stock

“We are seeing them come to us more than in the past,” Stock said, “because they know our students are good students that do well when they transfer.”

COD offers many 3 + 1 programs that allow a student to take three years of classes with the fourth year taught by partner universities often on COD’s campus.

COD also offers traditional 2 + 2 programs that allows students to complete two years and another 2 years at a college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree—with the hope of students being able to graduate in four years.

“Our goal is to help students start at the most affordable place they can with a lot of support, so they can get two or even three years done here which can be very cost effective,” Stock said.

COD is one of 10 community colleges in Illinois that offers a pathway program directly into the engineering school at the University of Illinois.

Students must earn a B or better in each required course and maintain a 3.5 overall GPA to successfully transfer.

The engineering pathways program is one of many pathways programs that “community colleges around the country are working on that have very specific goals to make sure students get from high school to work if that is where they want to go or high school to a four-year institution,” she said.

“The engineering pathways programs are very successful.  It is a great way for students to start in smaller classes with individual attention,” Stock said.

  WCC and COD  3 + 1 Programs

Benedictine University

Bachelor of Arts in Management

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Concordia University Chicago

Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management

Governors State University

Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing

Lewis University

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Enhanced 2 + 2 Program bachelor of arts in education

National Louis University

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services

Roosevelt University

Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Waubonsee Community College Transfer Agreements

Chamberlain College of Nursing accepts graduates with the associate of applied science in registered nursing.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology accepts the AA or AS, as well as the AAS in Human Services, from Waubonsee Community College as fulfilling admission requirements for the bachelor of arts psychology completion program.

Columbia College Chicago’s guaranteed transfer admission agreement provides admission to more than 40 bachelor of arts degree programs. Students who participate in the program will receive a scholarship for their first year of enrollment based on the cumulative grade point average on all transferable courses.

DePaul Admission Partnership Program allows students to transfer up to 66 semester hours.

DeVry University accepts all AAS degrees, regardless of technical or applied content, as a block of credit into DeVry’s Bachelor of Science in technical management (BSTM) program. The degree is offered entirely online.

Eastern Illinois University accepts the AA, AS, AAS or AGS degree for their bachelor of general studies BA, as well as allows for any student who has completed a transferable associate degree with at least a 2.0 GPA to be admitted to EIU at the junior level.

Franklin University offers 35 Bachelor’s degrees. Transfer students with an associate degree will have junior standing. Students may transfer up to 94 semester hours.

Governors State University Dual Degree Program.  – To qualify, students must be a full-time Waubonsee Community College student who has completed 12 to 45 credit hours, and is in good academic standing. Students must complete their associate degree in five or fewer semesters (plus summers) and plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree immediately after graduating.

Illinois State University’s Redbird Promise offers Illinois community college students guaranteed admission to Illinois State University to complete their bachelor’s degree.

Judson University allows students to transfer 88 hours of completed coursework for those entering a bachelor of arts degree program in the Center for Adult Professional Studies program. Students transferring to Judson University who have completed the associate in arts or the associate in science will have satisfied all Judson University general education requirements.

Monmouth College Guaranteed Admissions Agreement allows students with  a 2.5 cumulative GPA at Waubonsee and have completed at least 24 transferable semester hours here. Students who complete the AA, AS or AFA degree will be accepted at junior standing.

North Central College‘s Guaranteed Admission Agreement creates a clear pathway for Waubonsee students to transfer. Students must complete an associate in arts or an associate of science with a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and submit the Guaranteed Admission Agreement Participation Form

Northern Illinois University Guaranteed Admissions  allows students to be simultaneously admitted to both NIU and Waubonsee.  Admission to Northern Illinois University does not guarantee admission into “Limited Admission” programs.

Northern Illinois University Reverse Transfer NIU students who transferred from Waubonsee without associate degrees are able to earn the two-year degree using credit from NIU courses.

Olivet Nazarene recognizes that if a student satisfactorily completes the AA or AS degree, he/she will receive full recognition toward the completion of the bachelor of science in nursing.

Roosevelt University’s Dual Degree Program (DDP) allows students to earn an associate degree at Waubonsee and a bachelor’s degree at Roosevelt.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has a pathway with Waubonsee for students pursing the associate in fine arts (AFA) degree who are interested in completing the bachelor’s of fine arts degree.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale has program agreements in place for students completing associate in applied science degrees for advanced manufacturing technology, automation technology, automotive technology, auto body repair, computer aided design and drafting: design, emergency medical technician – paramedic, and fire science technology.

University of St. Francis allows students with an associate of applied science in registered nursing to transfer to the four-year university. Students are then able to pursue a bachelor of science degree in Nursing (BSN) and receive reduced tuition rates for general education courses.

Western Illinois University offers the online completion of a bachelor of arts degree, a program for adult students which allows students to design their program to meet individual educational goals.