Old Dominion University and Thomas Nelson Community College signed an Industrial Technology Articulation Agreement on July 10 to help strengthen workforce development efforts in Hampton Roads.
The agreement aligns Thomas Nelson’s technical studies and ODU’s industrial technology programs. Students can now seamlessly transfer from an associate degree at TNCC to a bachelor’s degree at ODU.
ODU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Austin Agho and Thomas Nelson President John T. Dever signed the agreement during a ceremony recently at TNCC.
“Old Dominion’s strategic plan emphasizes the need for engagement with other educational institutions, businesses, industries and agencies to meet the demands for a skilled workforce in Hampton Roads,” Agho said.
He noted that the agreement positions ODU and Thomas Nelson to accomplish three objectives:
- Helping students to complete both an associate and bachelor’s degree in 120 credit hours, saving each student about $12,000 in tuition.
- Affirming the institutions’ commitment to social mobility by helping their graduates find top, well-paying jobs.
- Giving adult and nontraditional students the opportunity to earn college credit for their knowledge, training and skills in the workplace. “This allows students to translate their occupational experience and technical training into enhanced personal growth and career advancement,” Agho said.
“In short, this program is simply about having companies be able to support their workers – their current, talented, loyal workers – and to provide an opportunity for them to move forward in the company,” said Susan English, vice president for academic affairs and workforce development at TNCC. “Think succession planning, if you will, and allowing their traits and their skills to be used toward a leadership degree.”
Dever pointed out that this is not the first collaboration between ODU and Thomas Nelson.
“Our relationship goes back many, many years,” he said. “And we have done, I think, an extraordinary job of providing opportunities for Thomas Nelson graduates to attend a whole variety of programs at Old Dominion University over the years. In fact, Old Dominion University is by far the largest recipient of our transfer students.”
Under the new agreement, students will primarily be drawn from registered apprenticeship completers, active-duty and transitioning military personnel, and employees completing highly structured and robust company training programs. Businesses, industries and agencies – such as Virginia Natural Gas (the inaugural company that helped create the program) and apprenticeship partners – provided input for the agreement.
“This innovative degree pathway acknowledges technical expertise and skills by awarding up to 23 credit hours of advanced standing within the degree,” said Tammi Dice, associate dean of undergraduate education at ODU’s Darden College of Education and Professional Studies.
Dever said he’s especially pleased that this program will benefit students in TNCC’s career and technical education program in addition to those seeking general studies associate degrees.
“Old Dominion has worked with us in a number of instances to find pathways for those students so they can transfer to ODU,” he said, “and that’s one of those programs that we’re offering today.”
Faculty from ODU and Thomas Nelson will establish minimum qualifications for program entry and acceptable forms of documentation.
“Thanks to this partnership, ODU is helping to close the gap in educational attainment for many talented professionals in our community,” said Petros Katsioloudis, professor and chairman of the Department of STEM Education and Professional Studies in the Darden College. “At the core, this initiative is about advancing our communities and improving the lives of individuals within our communities.”