New ODU-TCC agreement bridges the gap between work experience and a college degree

New ODU-TCC agreement bridges the gap between work experience and a college degree
Industrial Technology program awards credit for established knowledge and skills

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (May 21, 2018) — Thanks to a new transfer agreement between Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University, adult and non-traditional students can earn college credit for their knowledge, training and skills in the workplace. 

The agreement aims to address the growing needs of local business and industry partners by providing college credit to skilled workers who often need formal education to advance their careers. 

Old Dominion vice president for student engagement and enrollment services, Ellen Neufeldt, joined Edna Baehre-Kolovani, president of Tidewater Community College, at a signing ceremony today that formalized connections in industrial technology between the Hampton Roads higher education institutions. 

Students who earn TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies with a Specialization in Technical Supervision and have significant and documented occupational experience and technical training, can seamlessly transition to Old Dominion's industrial technology major, offered through the Darden College of Education.

“Together with Old Dominion, we have taken an innovative approach to breaking down the barriers that often inhibit adult learners with significant technical skills from furthering their education,” said President Kolovani. “We’ve created an academic pathway that they can carry over to the doctorate level if they choose.” 

Old Dominion University President, John R. Broderick, praised the new pathway. 

“The agreement is proof of a productive academic partnership between the University and Tidewater Community College, focused on meeting community needs,” said President Broderick. “Equally important, this agreement will help adult learners and non-traditional students advance in the workplace and their careers.” 

Various businesses, industries and agencies, such as Virginia Natural Gas and apprenticeship partners, approached TCC to explore how the college can help highly skilled employees bridge the gap between professional expertise and formal education. 

Daniel DeMarte, TCC executive vice president for academic and student affairs, said TCC welcomes opportunities to meet employers’ needs in innovative ways. 

“The Technical Studies associate degree with the Technical Supervision specialization will allow TCC and ODU to recognize and reward individuals for their unique and significant work experiences in business and industry, the military and registered apprenticeship programs,” he said. 

This new industrial technology pathway underscores the importance of unique, experiential learning at Old Dominion, also recognized as an innovative institution. 

“I am very pleased to see the positive result of the strong partnership between ODU and TCC,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Austin Agho. “This innovative, collaborative articulation agreement provides eligible TCC graduates the opportunity to seamlessly transfer into the Bachelor of Science occupational and technical studies degree at Old Dominion University program with an emphasis on industrial technology.” 

Petros Katsioloudis, chair of the STEM Education and Professional Studies Department, and a leader in creating the new agreement, said it meets a clear need. 

“Currently, the industrial technology program enrolls roughly 120 students and is projected to add 300 students over the next two years,” said Katsioloudis. “We are extremely excited and confident that the new model will better serve the skilled workforce in our area and nationwide.” 

Kellie Sorey, TCC’s associate vice president for academics, said those with documented technical skills and professional experience can receive nearly half of the associate degree with advanced standing credit, “putting them well on the way to completing the associate and bachelor degrees.” ODU will accept all credits awarded by TCC, she said. 

Tammi Dice, associate dean for undergraduate education at the Darden College of Education, added that the College “extends the benefits of higher education to corporations. Ultimately, students can minimize unnecessary coursework based on prior learning assessments, which allows them to re-enter the workforce with a degree sooner and with advanced skill,” she said. 

Those who have completed registered apprenticeships, active duty and transitioning military, and employees of companies with highly structured and robust training programs are ideal candidates. 

James R. Kibler, president of Virginia Natural Gas, said his rapidly growing industry has many good employees who need formal education to advance. 

“The ability to apply on-the-job experience toward furthering their education is a tremendous opportunity for our talented energy professionals to achieve their personal and professional goals,” said Kibler. “We’re committed to rewarding and retaining an inclusive workforce to ensure our customers receive the most responsive, reliable service possible. After all, we are our customers too.” 

Jane S. Bray, dean of the ODU Darden College of Education, said the agreement with TCC represents “another way in which the College is ensuring that our programs and curriculum meet the future professional needs of all students and will help satisfy the growing demand for qualified management-oriented professionals.” 

The industrial technology agreement between TCC and ODU is the latest addition to the many pathways provided by their partnership easing the transition between from an associate to baccalaureate degree programs. 

For more information on any of ODU’s pathway programs, visit www.odu.edu. For details on TCC’s new associate degree, visit www.tcc.edu/technical-supervision.

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