New M-DCC pact assures credit transfers to George TechBy Candi Calkins
A recent agreement guaranteeing Miami-Dade Community College engineering students a seamless transfer to Georgia Tech, the nation's fourth-ranked engineering school, is a milestone, college officials say.
Georgia Tech is "a very prestigious university and demanding," said Rosario Roman, district director of school and college relations for M-DCC. "It is, I would say, a happy occasion for the college to be recognized by an institution of this stature."
Wasim Shomar, who chairs M-DCC's design school, said he contacted Georgia Tech on a student's behalf. The result is Georgia Tech's first credit transfer arrangement with an out-of-state community college.
The agreement, Mr. Shomar said, "is a clear statement on the excellence of our program."
Mr. Shomar said for a transfer to Georgia Tech, engineering students at M-DCC must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and take prescribed courses.
Under the agreement, any prospective students outside Georgia who fail to gain admittance to Georgia Tech as freshmen will be referred to M-DCC, Mr. Shomar said.
"We're providing the vehicle or path for our students to transfer and graduate from a premier educational institution," he said.
He said the college offers a low-cost way to complete general education requirements.
M-DCC has about 50 articulation agreements with colleges and universities across the nation, including all private colleges in Florida, Ms. Roman said.
Articulation agreements mean students do not lose credits when they transfer to four-year colleges.
The agreements also lead to a healthy exchange of information among institutions, she said. Faculty visits and conversations, Ms. Roman said, help to bring down barriers that otherwise might frustrate local students seeking to further their education.
She said M-DCC awards more associate of arts degrees in excess of 5,000 annually than any college in the country.
Ms. Roman said about 68% of students who earn associate degrees at M-DCC continue education at a four-year college immediately after graduation.
With more than half the student body going on to upper-class degree programs, she said, articulation agreements become essential.
M-DCC, in turn, provides an attractive pool of minority students for colleges looking to diversify their student body, she said.
The 128,143 students enrolled at M-DCC include about 63% Hispanics, 21% black non-Hispanics and 14% white non-Hispanics. The student body is 59% female.
Because M-DCC recently revised its curriculum, Ms. Roman said, several agreements with Florida institutions also are being updated and revised.
The college recently renewed its articulation agreement with the University of Miami. Long-standing agreements also exist with Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University.
Jean-Lou Chameau, dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, said faculty members had a positive impression of M-DCC.
"We felt that there were a number of students who could consider going to an engineering program such as the one at Georgia Tech," he said. "We are actively trying to recruit minority students, Hispanic and African-American students.
"We have a strategy to have a campus at Georgia Tech as diverse as we can. We try to establish partnerships with a number of institutions that can help us achieve that. It's all part of a strategy."
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