HAMLET — Richmond Community College and Gardner-Webb University have formalized agreements outlining direct pathways to bachelor’s degrees in the fields of nursing, human services and business. The pathways also secure students associate of applied science degrees from RichmondCC.
Specific programs detailed in the pathways include nursing, criminal justice, elementary education, human services, accounting, business administration, entrepreneurship and health care management.
Jeff Rogers, associate provost for digital learning at Gardner-Webb, and Sara Newcomb, assistant director of partnerships, said they were happy to be on the campus of RichmondCC to authenticate the arrangement.
“What we want to do is provide students with a clear tool they can use to get the degrees they need without having to duplicate any instruction,” said Newcomb.
The pathways identify exactly what RichmondCC courses are necessary to receive an AAS degree, as well as the credit hours that will transfer to Gardner-Webb and what classes will still be needed to attain a bachelor’s degree.
“I appreciate the work that’s gone in to this and know it will be a huge asset to our students,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, president of Richmond Community College. “It is in line with the emphasis we put on students to identify a career plan as soon as they enroll at RichmondCC in order to provide them with structured guidance to give them the best chance possible of achieving their educational goals.”
Rogers said the partnerships are also in line with Gardner-Webb’s founders’ visions of providing quality education and economic opportunity.
McInnis credited Gardner-Webb with being at the forefront of partnering with colleges in rural areas, and stressed the importance of educational attainment in economic development.
“Only 13 percent of the population in Richmond County has a bachelor degree or higher. And only 15 percent in Scotland County. That’s less than half the state level,” McInnis said. “And prospective industries aren’t looking for somewhere to relocate when the county workforce has education levels lower than half the state average. These agreements are a step toward a solution to that problem, giving students more options to a bachelor of science degree. Combined with our partnerships with other universities, we are well-positioned to serve our communities.”
Dr. Devon Hall, chairman of RichmondCC’s Business Department, said the identified pathways will open many new doors for his students, especially in the area of accounting.
“It’s very exciting to think of the pipeline that can be developed from students starting a Richmond Community College and going on to get their degree at Gardner-Webb to set themselves up at CPAs (certified public accountants),” Hall said.
April Chavis-Johnson, who chairs the public services department at RichmondCC, said the pathways would also have a tremendous impact on her areas of criminal justice, elementary education and human services.
“These agreements are really going to open doors for students and show them how easy it can be to earn a four-year degree,” Johnson said.
For more information about the pathway plans or to enroll in one of the programs, call 910-410-1700.
Leighton Bell is assistant director of K-12 partnerships at Richmond Community College.