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story.lead_photo.caption Memorandum: South Arkansas Community College President Dr. Barbara Jones, left, and Arkansas Tech University President Dr. Robin E. Bowen sign a memorandum of understanding to ease the transfer of credits to ATU. Contributed photo

A new memorandum of understanding between South Arkansas Community College and Arkansas Tech University will open a track for 15 bachelor’s degrees for SouthArk students.

The MOU was signed by Dr. Robin E. Bowen, ATU president, and Dr. Barbara Jones, SouthArk president on Tuesday.

“This collaboration will streamline access to quality four-year degrees, increasing the academic value for SouthArk graduates and the potential for economic transformation for our local communities,” Jones said. “The goal of this agreement is twofold: increasing access to four-year college degrees at ATU and ensuring our students’ academic preparation to succeed. We are excited to forge this new partnership with ATU and look forward to future opportunities to support our joint commitment to serve students.”

Under the MOU, students who transfer from SouthArk to ATU can receive full transfer credit for previously earned hours in his or her field of study for the courses they’ve completed as long as they’ve completed the required transfer procedures and been accepted to ATU.

Programs and courses covered by the MOU include ATU’s bachelor of arts degrees in communication speech, communication theater, criminal justice, cultural and geospatial studies, English, fine arts, history, journalism broadcast option, journalism print option, journalism public relations option, political science, psychology and sociology as well as bachelor of science degrees in biology and chemistry.

The terms of the agreement allow for the possibility of more degree programs to be added in the future provided they are approved by the presidents of the two institutions and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

“Arkansas Tech University is excited to begin this new partnership with South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado,” Bowen said. “It is our intention to offer the graduates of SouthArk with a seamless transition into Arkansas Tech University and access to bachelor’s degree completion. This model is consistent with our stackable degrees approach at ATU and our desire to serve learners from all regions of our great state. We express our appreciation to our colleagues at SouthArk for their collaboration on this initiative and their shared commitment to student success.”

Jones signed a similar agreement with Arkansas State University in November for nine programs including communication studies, criminology, disaster preparedness and emergency management, economics, English, history, organizational supervision, sociology and strategic communication.

Heath Waldrop, director of marketing and public relations with SouthArk, said the college has transfer agreements with several universities in Arkansas and Louisiana.

“These university transfer agreements definitely are a priority for us,” Waldrup said.

Michael Shine may be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook @MichaelAZShine for updates on Union County school news.

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