A new partnership between Gateway Community College and Southern will enable many students to expedite their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.
Students earning an associate in arts (A.A.) degree in liberal arts and sciences from Gateway will automatically have nearly all of their general education course requirements waived at SCSU. The general education requirements, known at SCSU as the Liberal Education Program (LEP), require most students to earn 48 credits in courses designed to ensure a well-rounded education.
Under the agreement, most students with an A.A. in liberal arts and sciences from Gateway will be exempt from at least 39 of the 48 general education credits. Students would still have to earn 3 credits in a foreign language class (200 level at SCSU or third level at Gateway); 3 credits in math above an intermediate algebra level; and a capstone course. The math and foreign language requirements could be earned at Gateway, as well, but the capstone must be taken at SCSU.
“We are convinced that these students who have earned an associate degree in liberal arts and studies have already attained a level of proficiency in most of the core competencies that we require of our own students,” said SCSU Provost Bette Bergeron.
“Gateway is our largest feeder community college, and this will dramatically simplify the transfer procedure for many Gateway students with an associate in liberal arts and sciences degree.”
She noted that students previously would need a course-by-course analysis with an academic advisor to determine how many of their Gateway credits would count toward meeting the LEP requirements at SCSU.
“These students will know up front what they are getting when they come here in terms of credits,” said Marianne Kennedy, associate vice president for academic affairs. “It will provide these students with a clearer, more transparent road to academic success.”
Some academic majors require students to take a specific LEP class or two, according to Deborah Weiss, acting chairwoman of the SCSU Undergraduate Curriculum Forum. In those cases, the major requirement would supersede the new agreement.
Frank LaDore, SCSU director of Academic Advisement and Career Services, said he would urge Gateway graduates who plan to attend SCSU to apply to their specific program as soon as they are accepted to the university. “Students will then know if they need to take a specific LEP course or two to meet the requirements of their major, as well as gain a clear understanding of which courses they should register for during their first semester here.
Gateway recorded a total of 161 students who graduated with an A.A. degree in liberal arts and sciences last year, and 780 students who were enrolled in the program.
“The faculty at Southern are endorsing the value of a liberal arts and science degree from Gateway, and acknowledging that students are prepared for upper division studies,” said Lauren Doninger, coordinator of Gateway’s liberal arts and sciences program. “With a Gateway degree, students will get a broad section of courses that will lead them to be successful in majors at Southern.
“Previously, students who did not make course selections specifically with Southern in mind had to take many additional credits to complete a degree at SCSU. This change will vastly simplify the transfer,” Doninger said.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Southern recently approved a plan that will enable students who earned an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree in liberal arts and sciences from Gateway to expedite their path to a bachelor’s degree.
Students who have earned an A.A. degree from Gateway will be exempted from most of the required general education courses, known at Southern as the Liberal Education Program (LEP).
Who is eligible to participate in this program?
Any student who graduated with an associate in arts degree in liberal arts and sciences from Gateway since 2011 is eligible. At Gateway, it is commonly referred to as the LAS degree.
How many credits must students earn to complete the LEP requirements?
Most Southern students must successfully complete 48 LEP credits.
How many credits could such a student transfer to Southern?
Generally, at least 39 credits could be transferred to Southern in terms of meeting the 48-credit LEP requirement. In some cases, up to 45 credits could be transferred. But all 61 credits may be transferred to help with earning a bachelor’s degree.
Which 9 credits would still be required to complete the LEP program? In other words, if the associate degree earns most students at least 39 of the 48 credits, what are these other 9 credits?
The 9 credits are:
*3 credits – a course that meets the multilingual communication requirement. In other words, a 200-level foreign language is needed.
*3 credits – a course that meets the quantitative reasoning (math) requirement. It must be at a level above intermediate algebra.
*3 credits — a Tier 3 capstone course at Southern
Is it possible for a student to earn some of the remaining 9 credits at Gateway?
Yes, a student can earn 6 of those 9 credits at Gateway. The math requirement would be met by successfully completing a math course above the intermediate algebra level. The foreign language requirement would be met by passing a 200-level foreign language course at Gateway (e.g. French 201, Spanish 201). A student could also be waived from the foreign language requirement by passing the Stamp Test at the intermediate low level, meeting the CLEP exam score or meeting the ACTFL exam score.
The Tier 3 capstone course, however, can only be completed at Southern.
What if a student decides to major in a discipline that requires a specific LEP course or two to be met?
In those cases, the major requirement supersedes this agreement, and that specific course – or in some cases, two courses — must be taken at Southern.
Before this plan went into effect, how did the credit transfer process work?
Academic advisors would examine each student’s transcript and determine which courses would be transferable – both for the LEP requirements and for graduation purposes.
Does the new system allow students to transfer more of their credits toward meeting Southern’s LEP requirements than previously was the case?
Yes. Typically, it enables students to transfer at least 2 to 3 additional courses – thereby, reducing their workload while at Southern. As an example, English classes were often not transferrable to meet the LEP, but they are now. In some cases, a student can graduate a semester earlier now as result of this agreement.
What else has changed?
The process is more transparent. Students will know how many credits will be transferable before coming to Southern.