Board of Trustees Gives the Green Light: Landmark FGCU-ECC Partnership Makes Possible AS to BS in Applied Science
FORT MYERS, FL - The Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees made good on its promise today and joined the Edison Community College Board of Trustees in approving a partnership that allows ECC graduates with an Associate of Science to progress seamlessly into the FGCU Bachelor of Science in Applied Science program. Courses begin in January.
FGCU’s new degree offers two concentrations, Computer Technology and Public Services Management. The Florida Board of Education supports the partnership via an agreement made July 1 and provided a $1 million grant to fund it. The University of South Florida’s recently implemented BSAS degree served as a model for the FGCU program.
“It is our intention to both meet the needs of the students, citizens and employers of Southwest Florida and provide a model of cooperation for the entire state through this groundbreaking agreement,” ECC District President Kenneth P. Walker said.
The agreement is a milestone in Florida’s higher education system because traditionally, AS degrees, which require two years of lower division, freshman and sophomore-level courses, are “terminal” and do not necessarily lead upward to other degrees.
According to the registrar’s web site at Florida A&M University, “The associate of science degree is considered a two-year terminal degree and as such does not assure admission or certify the applicant as having completed the general education requirements, or qualify for upper division status.”
The FGCU-ECC agreement changes that philosophy by ensuring ECC graduates with relevant AS degrees and a 2.0 grade point average can qualify for upper division status in the FGCU BSAS program.
The degree program consists of 120 credit hours and each concentration specifically addresses the continuing educational needs of students who have earned AS degrees in various disciplines, including paramedics, firefighters, police officers and paralegals, who are already occupationally qualified by virtue of their AS degree but want to progress to related areas.
“The implementation of the Bachelor of Science in Applied Science program will provide Southwest Florida with a high quality program that is consistent with the University’s mission and will serve an identifiable need,” FGCU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs Brad Bartel said.
Students entering the BSAS program will sign a contract that describes coursework and program requirements. The plan of study assumes that students will have completed 18 hours of appropriate general education coursework as part of the ECC AS program. In addition, BSAS students must fulfill College Level Academic Skills Test, or CLAST, and foreign language and graduation requirements. Students may transfer a maximum of 60 lower division credits to the FGCU BSAS degree program.
In spring 2003, FGCU will offer a public service course jointly by the departments of Justice Studies and Public Affairs. The computer technology concentration will have five courses available: Information Systems, Systems Analysis and Design, Database Concepts and Administration, Data Communications, and Operations Management.
“The CT program will be part of our full Information Technology offerings, including computer science, computer information systems and computer technology, and ranging from scientific foundations to IT applied knowledge and practice,” FGCU chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems, Computer Science and Decision Sciences Walter Rodriguez said.
“Next year, we will be developing the software engineering program, which will provide the full spectrum of IT program offerings at FGCU. The CIS program is one of the fastest growing programs at FGCU. We expect CT to grow as fast or faster thanks to this partnership with our colleagues at Edison Community College.”
To learn more about the new program and classes beginning in January, ECC AS graduates and current students are encouraged to attend an information session with FGCU and ECC representatives from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 in ECC Room B114. Presentations begin every half hour starting at 5:15 p.m.
For more information, contact associate vice president for Community Relations and Marketing Audrea Anderson at (941) 590-1083.