Higher learning: EGCC teams with Kent

PARTNERS — Beverly J. Warren, president of Kent State University, and Jimmie Bruce, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, on Wednesday signed an agreement to form a strategic partnership that will allow students in the Tri-State Area to complete a four-year degree in conjunction with KSU at the community college. -- Amy Neeley

STEUBENVILLE — Eastern Gateway Community College and Kent State University announced Wednesday a partnership that will allow area residents the chance to earn a four-year degree from the university without leaving Jefferson County.

Eastern Gateway President Jimmie Bruce and Kent President Beverly J. Warren signed the agreement that will allow students to take university-level classes at the community college.

“We are breaking down barriers and increasing access for our students,” Bruce said. “This is enhancing opportunities for all of our students, traditional and non-traditional.”

“This is not just a photo-op, but an opportunity for these young students and not-so-young students,” Warren said.

Leaders from the community college began meeting with representatives from the university’s Columbiana County campuses in East Liverpool and Salem about a year ago to see if the schools could work together to enhance the educational opportunities in Jefferson County. They discovered the schools share many of the same goals in helping students move from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree.

Keith Murdock, Eastern Gateway’s executive director of marketing, alumni and public relations, said the partnership will allow the students to earn a bachelor’s degree without the travel.

“This is actually bringing the course work here,” he said.

Warren said the agreement with the community college helps the university achieve its goal of preparing students for the future.

“This is not just symbolic,” she said. “The work of educators is to provide a seamless pipeline from the cradle to the career.”

The first two classes being offered in the partnership will include bachelor’s degrees in informational science and technical and applied studies.

The technical and applied studies degree can be combined with a concentration in insurance studies, officials explained.

Additional opportunities will be determined based on student interest.

Kent State plans to place a physical advising center on the Steubenville campus.

The partnership will begin in 2019.