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AUM, Sinclair to collaborate

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Antioch University Midwest and Sinclair Community College recently finalized plans that will bring AUM faculty to Sinclair’s Courseview Campus in Mason, Ohio, this spring. Students on track to earn an associate degree from Sinclair will be able to “seamlessly transition” to bachelor’s degree programs taught by AUM faculty. The collaboration will initially offer bachelor’s degrees in data analytics and management, fields that Scott Markland, Sinclair’s vice president for regional centers, said are crucial in today’s business world and reflect the region’s workforce needs.

“It’s a win-win-win-win situation,” he said, “for the students, the colleges, and the area’s employers.”

A symbolic charter of agreement was signed at Sinclair’s Mason campus Friday, Dec. 18, marking the day the program went live. AUM President Karen Schuster-Webb hailed the partnership at last week’s press conference, stating that students are at the center of the schools’ innovative and cost-effective programs, an approach she said is in line with AUM’s mission to promote social and economic justice.

“We are making the dream a reality,” she said. “We are pioneers together, a dream team offering a holistic approach to education.”

Sinclair offers associate degree programs in fields such as IT, defense and aerospace and organizational effectiveness. Sinclair students will be able to enroll as juniors at AUM once they have completed at least 60 credit hours and earned a GPA of 2.0 or better in their course of study. Antioch advisors will be on Sinclair’s campus at least three times a week to help answer questions about career goals and what classes can be taken to meet them.

The collaboration aims to offer degrees that will allow graduates to hit the ground running. The degree in data analytics, for example, reflects a critical part of today’s business environment, said Markland. Data on industry trends and customer spending habits is collected by businesses of all sizes and scopes, he said, which use the information to guide their business strategies. Moreover, degrees in data analytics and management are valued by regional manufacturers and employers like Procter and Gamble, a boon to students with ties to the area.

A bachelor’s degree through the Sinclair-AUM parternship will cost approximately $30,000. The first two years at Sinclair will cost $9,000, and the Antioch portion will cost approximately $21,000. While not inexpensive, Markland said, it is about half the cost of a state school education elsewhere in Ohio. (A year at The Ohio State University is approximately $11,000, not counting room and board.) And it’s a small price to pay for the difference in compensation a degree can bring, he said. The $25–$30 an hour that can be earned in the field with an associate degree increases to a median $37 an hour with a bachelor’s. Markland said the degree programs will also have a “point person” who rustles up internships for students. An internship will not only offset program costs by paying the intern, he said, but is basically a “test run for new hires” that may lead to employment post-graduation.
Sinclair’s partnership with AUM is one of a few associate-to-bachelor’s programs the school has developed with other area colleges. The collaboration between Sinclair and Franklin University, for example, yields a degree in health care management. In all cases, the programs have proven very appealing to students, said David Collins, Sinclair’s provost.

“Students used to ask how many credits will transfer to their next university,” he said. “Now they ask if credits will transfer to the bachelor’s program they’re interested in.”

AUM also recognizes the importance of a student’s work and life experience, and grants academic credit for proficiency in key areas related to a student’s occupation, military service or volunteer work, according to a press release accompanying the event.

The co-location degrees are part of Sinclair’s ongoing expansion. The current goal is to expand its Mason campus and build up the number of students it can serve, aiming for 10,000 students by 2035, according to DeAnn Hurtado, associate dean of Sinclair’s Mason campus. The college will offer more programs and degree options as its campus grows, she said.

The partnership will help further Sinclair’s reach and reflects AUM’s educational tradition of “ethical and responsible applications of knowledge.” AUM has numerous undergraduate programs and over 25 years of experience helping adult students learn and succeed, said Schuster-Webb.

“We have students eager to learn, a community ready to fill the jobs of tomorrow and the shared responsibility to provide mutually beneficial opportunities for both of them and ethically grow our economy,” she said.


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