Dr. Shirley A. Reed, president of South Texas Community College, and Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez, president of The University of Texas-Pan American, signed an historic academic partnership agreement Oct. 22 that should prove of significant benefit to area students in helping them complete their college education in the Rio Grande Valley.
The partnership agreement, signed at an afternoon news conference on the south plaza of the University Library, fulfills the "2+2" function of traditional articulation agreements between community colleges and universities by assuring students that associate degree programs at STCC satisfy the freshman and sophomore year requirements of four-year baccalaureate degrees at UT Pan American.
To acknowledge the growing number of students who are enrolled at both STCC and UT Pan American, the partnership agreement also includes a unique feature that identifies courses at both institutions that will satifsy degree requirements at either school, the two presidents announced.
To ensure the "greatest possible match" between the degree programs of both institutions and to facilitate a "seamless" transfer of students between the two institutions, STCC and UT Pan American have committed, through the academic partnership agreements, to:
• granting junior-level standing at UTPA to students completing an associate degree program at STCC (the associate degree will substitute for the freshman and sophomore years of the baccalaureate degree program at UTPA);
• identifying courses at the university that can be completed as part of the associate degree requirements at STCC and courses at STCC that can be completed as part of the baccalaureate degree requirements at UTPA;
• maintaining joint institutional procedures for developing, updating and revising articulation agreements for associate and baccalaureate degree programs,
• publishing, on a regular basis, articulation agreements that will be provided to students on both campuses as transfer guides during academic advising, and
• conducting periodic reviews of admission and transfer policies and procedures to enhance the ease of transfer between institutions.
"This partnership agreement is an important step in enhancing educational opportunities for the students of our region, and it is possible because of the close working relationship UT Pan American and STCC have and because of the geographic proximity of the two institutions," President Nevárez said before the signing. "We are very proud to take part in the signing of this agreement today."
"When the community college was created in the Valley, Dr. Nevárez and his staff were first in line to support and endorse the mission of the community college," President Reed told reporters at the news conference.
"This event has been long awaited. It will formalize our relationship. We are especially proud to say we have 1,494 students from South Texas Community College who have transferred on to UT Pan American. Our goal is to work cooperatively and collaboratively with UT Pan American, and I look forward to many more partnerships to announce to you in the future."