Photo by Pavel Danilyuk:

At a ceremony held February 15 in Trenton Hall on The College of New Jersey campus, the presidents of Mercer County Community College (MCCC) and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) signed an articulation agreement to streamline access to 4-year degrees for graduates of MCCC.

MCCC President Deborah Preston and TCNJ President Kathryn Foster gathered with higher education faculty and staff, foundation board members, trustees and community members for a celebratory signing event formalizing a new agreement that creates a process for MCCC graduates to seamlessly transfer to TCNJ’s 4-year bachelor’s degree programs. Beginning in the fall of 2023, MCCC associate degree graduates in good academic standing who’ve maintained the required GPA and who’ve satisfactorily completed the application for admission will automatically be granted admission to TCNJ.

Both presidents spoke to the importance of the new agreement.

“The articulation agreement that we sign today provides the opportunity to transform the lives of Mercer County residents,” said the TCNJ president. “The quality education at Mercer County Community College prepares students well for TCNJ … and Mercer students will now be able to transfer seamlessly to this high quality four-year college.”

Preston, who has been president of Mercer County Community College since July, praised the efforts of faculty and staff who made the agreement come to fruition.

“I know all the work that went into making this agreement happen, and I think that speaks volumes for the respect that the institutions have for each other and for the great work we are both doing in putting our students first,” said Preston. “This agreement is not about making either institution look good or making our vice presidents look good, this agreement is about finding solutions that work for our students.”

Mercer County Community College and The College of New Jersey have worked together in the past and have many common goals.

“We share a passion for the same ideals,” said Foster. “We share a passion for ensuring student success, for cultivating a love of learning, for educational experiences and engaged education, and we share a passion for empowering our students to sustain and enhance their communities locally and beyond,” Foster said.

Since joining forces, over the past four years more than 220 Mercer County Community College students have enrolled at TCNJ as full-time students according to statistics from TCNJ. Further, two out of three MCCC applicants gain admittance to TCNJ.

During the summer of 2022, Robert Schreyer, MCCC’s vice president of academic affairs and Jeffrey M. Osborn, provost and vice president for academic affairs at TCNJ initiated discussions about expanding the relationship between the colleges.

“Dr. Osborn and I, our academic leaders and enrollment services team had a brainstorming session of outstanding ideas at the West Windsor campus last summer, and coming out on the other side of that is this agreement,” Schreyer remarked. “I personally can’t take credit. The deans and faculty really embraced this and went through great detail to make it happen,” he said.

James H. Whitney III, MCCC’s assistant vice president of academic affairs, who also played a role in the project, addressed the importance of the speed-to-degree factor of the agreement that helps students complete their studies on a fast timeline.

“A significant aspect of this agreement is MCCC’s 796 courses that will now transfer into real courses, not electives,” Whitney said. “This accomplishment is among the first of its kind at Mercer County Community College and will have a significant impact on student success,” he added.

According to Lisa Angeloni, vice president of enrollment at TCNJ, a new agreement is likely to dovetail what was accomplished at the February 15 ceremony.

“To further our institutions’ commitment to student success and to make the transition from associate degree to bachelor’s degree even more streamlined for MCCC students, we are now in discussions about housing MCCC students at TCNJ,” said Angeloni. “I believe this would contribute significantly to student success and allow for the full college experience,” said Angeloni.

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