UTPA, STC celebrate partnership by signing articulation agreements
By Jennifer Berghom, Public Affairs Representative
Posted: 08/31/2012
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On exactly a year to the day the leaders of The University of Texas-Pan American and South Texas College agreed to connect all of the academic programs that both institutions offer, UTPA and STC officials have almost fulfilled their goal by signing 12 more articulation agreements Aug. 30.

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Officials from UTPA and South Texas College (STC) signed 12 more articulation agreements Aug. 30, 2012 that will allow STC graduates to transfer all of their credits to UTPA to complete a bachelor's degree. Pictured from left to right are: (front row) Juan Mejia, STC vice president of Academic Affairs; UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen; STC President Dr. Shirley Reed; and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, UTPA provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. (Back row): Dr. John Ronnau, dean, UTPA College of Health Sciences and Human Services; Anahid Petrosian, STC assistant to the vice president for Academic Affairs; Dr. John Trant, dean, UTPA College of Science and Mathematics; Dr. Dahlia Guerra, dean, UTPA College of Arts and Humanities; Dr. Kristen Croyle, UTPA vice provost for Undergraduate Education; Dr. Laura Saenz, UTPA associate vice provost for Curriculum, Teaching and Assessment; Dr. Walter Diaz, dean, UTPA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Dr. Ali Esmaeili, STC dean of Math and Sciences; Dr. Margaretha Bischoff, STC dean of liberal arts and social sciences; Dr. Kenneth Buckman, UTPA associate provost of the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning; and Dr. Shawn Saladin, interim chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in UTPA's College of Health Sciences and Human Services.

The latest additions bring the total to 29. Officials from both institutions said they hope to have the final pending program, in mass communication, articulated within this school year.

UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen and STC President Dr. Shirley Reed praised the cooperation between UTPA and STC officials and said the agreements could not have been done without everyone working together to improve access to education in the Rio Grande Valley.

"Dr. Reed and I started this dance about three years ago and it's been a great dance," Nelsen said. "We need to change the educational attainment in the Valley. The students deserve it, we need to do it, and we will."

They and other administrators from both institutions also celebrated how STC and UTPA were able to complete so many agreements in such a short amount of time, something they all said was rare in higher education.

The articulation agreements allow graduates of STC seamlessly transfer their course credits to UTPA to continue their education and earn a bachelor's degree. It also allows students who transferred credits from STC to UTPA without earning an associate degree first to transfer credits they earn at UTPA to STC to earn their associate degree as well as their bachelor's degree from the college and University, respectively.

The presidents, as well as the deans and chairs of the colleges and departments under which the programs are, signed articulation agreements for the following programs:

• Bachelor of Arts in English

• Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

• Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art

• Bachelor of Arts in History

• Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

• Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

• Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders

• Bachelor of Science in Physics

• Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

• Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

• Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering

• Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

Reed added that about 67 percent of UTPA graduates had participated in STC in some way, whether they took classes at STC or graduated from STC before transferring to UTPA.

"It is such a testimony to how seamless the transition is for our students between the two institutions," Reed said.

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at UTPA, said the articulation agreements are only part of the collaboration between UTPA and STC. Officials from both institutions have also been discussing possibilities in research collaborations, study abroad programs and a variety of other issues that benefit students.

After the ceremony, Nelsen said he hopes to see an average of 2,000 STC students transfer to UT Pan American per year. Since Nelsen became president in January 2010, he said he has seen the number of STC students transferring to UTPA increase from about 800 per year to about 1,200 per year.