August 15, 2013 7:45AM
Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013
Fort Scott Community College and Pittsburg State University officials today announced that they are exploring options to expand their partnership agreement.
The current agreement between the two institutions of higher education is one of the strongest in the state, allowing FSCC students to take community college courses on PSU’s campus while providing them with the ability to seamlessly transfer to Pittsburg State.
“Pittsburg State’s academic offerings, facilities and location make it a great partner,” said Clayton Tatro, FSCC president. “We think there’s a real opportunity here to do even more for our students, which is why we approached Pittsburg State earlier this year with the idea of bringing our two colleges closer together.”
Early discussions have centered on developing a model that would create a closer affiliation between the two campuses. The goal would be to expand access and opportunities for students while preserving the identity of each institution.
Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott said the idea is a good one, and would benefit both campuses and their communities.
“Our goal is to create a new and expanded partnership that enhances access and creates more streamlined pathways for students,” Scott said. “It also has the potential of generating greater economic efficiencies for both campuses.”
Similar models have successfully been put into place in other states, but this partnership would be the first of its kind in Kansas.
“It’s worked well in states such as Missouri, Kentucky and Utah,” said Tatro. “The keys to success in each case have been open communication and an engaged community.”
Retired Butler Community College President Jackie Vietti has been retained to help guide the process forward.
“Dr. Vietti has dedicated her life to higher education,” said Scott. “She understands the demands placed upon community colleges and universities in our state. We’re fortunate to have a professional of her stature helping us in this process.”
Public forums will be held in Fort Scott and Pittsburg during September with the goal of presenting a final plan to the Fort Scott Community College Board of Trustees and Kansas Board of Regents before the end of the year.
“Our next step is to hear from our communities and get their input,” said Tatro. “These insights will help us develop a final plan that benefits our students, our campuses and our communities.”
Any proposed plan would have to be approved by the Fort Scott Community College Board of Trustees and Kansas Board of Regents. Although legislative involvement may eventually be required, those involved caution there are still many steps to be taken before a final plan is developed.