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Monday, August 30, 2010 - 4:52pm

JCC's commitment to connecting students to their goals was underscored recently as officials from JCC and five other colleges unveiled the “Communiversity at Jamestown Community College.”

JCC President Gregory T. DeCinque described the Communiversity as “an alliance of regional colleges and universities making select associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees accessible to individuals in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties while providing the caring environment and individualized attention that has been a hallmark of JCC for over 60 years.”

Joining JCC in the Communiversity are Alfred State College, Edinboro University, Empire State College, Houghton College's PACE Program, and Medaille College.

Dr. DeCinque explained that JCC takes pride in noting that associate degree attainment in its service area stands at 10% of the population, while that figure is 8% in New York state and 6% nationally. “However, bachelor's degree attainment is just 11% in JCC's primary service area, while it stands at 18% both in New York and nationally. Similarly, the percentage of JCC's service area residents who hold graduate degrees is just 9% while it is 14% in New York state and 10% nationally.

“Many of our prospective students are beyond traditional college age, working part-time, and taking care of family, and therefore cannot afford the luxury of going away to college to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree. Because the area is both economically distressed and somewhat geographically isolated, our residents face two barriers to higher education access: affordability and travel. The Communiversity at JCC levels the playing field so that students in southwestern New York and northwestern Pennsylvania have opportunities for education, training, and higher-paying jobs.”

Describing how the Communiversity will operate, Marilyn A. Zagora, JCC's vice president/dean of academic affairs, explained that JCC has created transfer articulation agreements with each of the five partner institutions. “Articulation agreements form the foundation of the Communiversity,” Dr. Zagora said. “They define what credits earned at JCC can be transferred to our partners' upper division programs and applied toward higher degrees. Our Communiversity partners will allow JCC graduates to transfer well beyond the traditional 60-credit hour associate degree and in most cases will permit students to transfer as much as five semesters of full-time JCC experience. This can yield significant savings for students who follow a Communiversity pathway.”

According to Dr. Zagora, Communiversity students will be able to access the partnership's upper division coursework without having to travel. “For the convenience of students, Communiversity courses are delivered through a variety of models including traditional classroom settings on JCC's campuses, live interactive television linked to JCC's classrooms, and online courses via the web. The Communiversity model allows students to save both travel time and money,” she said.

Through the Communiversity model, students will follow the admissions, enrollment, and financial aid processes of the various partner colleges. Start dates for Communiversity programs will vary by college, but are anticipated to be either at the beginning of the spring semester in January or at dates later in this fall semester.

Charter Communiversity partners offering bachelor's degree opportunities include:

  • Alfred State offering a Bachelor of Business Administration in technology management online with up to 78 transferable JCC credit hours,
  • Edinboro University offering a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice online and through interactive television with up to 90 transferable JCC credit hours,
  • Empire State College offering bachelor's degrees in 11 different areas online and in-person with up to 80 transferable JCC credits,
  • Houghton College's Program for Accelerating College Education (PACE) offering a Bachelor of Science in management with up to 87 transferable JCC credits, and
  • Medaille College offering a Bachelor of Business Administration in information systems online with up to 68 transferable JCC credits.

In addition, the Communiversity allows JCC students to pursue Alfred State's Associate in Applied Science degree in court and realtime reporting with up to 37 transferable JCC credits.

Dr. Zagora noted that, in response to community needs, JCC will consider welcoming additional college and university partners to the Communiversity in the future, including those providing master's degree pathways.

Commenting on the partnership, Alfred State President John M. Anderson said, "Alfred State College embraces the Communiversity concept and is fully committed to playing its part in delivering the wonderful academic opportunities designed therein. The initiative is visionary and timely, and creates a vehicle by which place bound students can efficiently pursue advanced academic degrees. JCC is to be commended for its leadership in creating this powerful collaboration."

Jeremy D. Brown, president of Edinboro University said, "As stewards of the public's trust and monetary investment, it is imperative that we continue to find creative ways to provide excellent educational opportunities through partnerships and collaborations. The Communiversity at Jamestown Community College is the embodiment of that goal."

"SUNY Empire State College is delighted to be a partner in the JCC Communiversity,” said ESC President Alan Davis. “We have had a long and productive relationship with JCC that connects JCC graduates to continued studies with Empire State. Our current Pathways Transfer Program and the new Communiversity will strengthen this relationship. We look forward to working with JCC graduates who seek to pursue SUNY bachelor's degrees at Empire State College. I congratulate President DeCinque and wish the faculty and staff of JCC continued success."

Commenting on the Communiversity, Shirley A. Mullen, president of Houghton College, said, “A key challenge for much of rural America is finding effective ways to provide opportunities for ongoing education and for raising skill levels, especially in times of economic turbulence. This region of New York is no exception. That is why Houghton College is pleased to partner with other members of the Communiversity to deliver high quality educational opportunities for residents of the Southern Tier.”

“Medaille is excited to partner with JCC in its Communiversity initiative,” said Medaille's President Richard T. Jurasek. “Our work together, especially in a distance learning format, will provide opportunities for the large number of associate degree holders in the Chautauqua County/Cattaraugus County area to fulfill their dream of earning a bachelor's degree. This partnership also helps Medaille achieve its strategic objective of developing a ‘portable Medaille,' which includes on ground, online, and video-enabled programs that serve learners wherever they are. JCC is an ambitious institution with an impeccable commitment to its stakeholders' needs, and we are proud to be part of this mission and dedication.”

Dr. Zagora explained that JCC's Centers for Continuing Education are facilitating the Communiversity referral process at both the Jamestown and Cattaraugus County campuses. Prospective Communiversity students are encouraged to get detailed information about the programs offered by visiting www.sunyjcc.edu/communiversity or calling 716.338.1005 in Jamestown or 716.376.7506 in Olean.

Communiversity “Information Nights” will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on October 13 in Jamestown and October 14 in Olean.
 

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