Community colleges ink agreement

Published 8:09 pm Saturday, July 4, 2015

Under an agreement recently announced, Paul D. Camp Community College students who have completed the General Education Certificate will be able to transfer 33 credits to Tidewater Community College’s Associate of Applied Arts in studio arts.

Tara Atkins-Brady, its vice president of academic and student development, stated the agreement allows students to take half the credits needed for the applied arts associate degree from Paul D. Camp, where they earn a General Education Certificate, which makes economic sense.

Tidewater Community College’s studio arts program prepares students for careers in art-related venues like museum, arts centers and galleries.

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“While this partnership allows students the opportunity to earn a General Education Certificate and the AAA in studio arts, it also provides options of completing specializations within the studio arts degree,” according to Christina Rupsch, who directs Tidewater Community College’s Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth’s Olde Towne.

Specializations, she added, include photographic media arts, glass and pre-art therapy.

Atkins-Brady says that while there are likely similar agreements between other community colleges in Virginia, it’s the first such agreement between Paul D. Camp and Tidewater.

“I would say that similar agreements in other disciplines are possible in the future,” she said in an email. “Having one under way gives us more experience with the opportunities, potential challenges, timeline, etc., which makes future agreements easier to identify and develop.”

According to a news release announcing the agreement, Rupsch approached Atkins-Brady about it approximately a year ago.

Rupsch was “instrumental in vetting the idea with TCC leadership,” Atkins-Brady stated, adding, “Our institutions worked together on the necessary programmatic revisions and other details to develop an agreement that is a win-win for our shared students and the colleges.”

The agreement is effective for the upcoming academic year. Atkins-Brady said it’s hard to anticipate how many students will take it up, because Paul D. Camp has never tracked how many students intend to enroll in another college’s program.

“Last year PDCCC enrolled about 250 students in its General Studies degree program through which students earn the General Education Certificate on their way to the associate’s degree,” she said.

“We plan to promote this agreement with these students, and prospective students, just as we share transfer information about opportunities at four-year institutions.”