New program takes flight at Antioch University Midwest
- Published: August 17, 2017
Continuing to expand its bachelor’s completion offerings through partnerships with regional community colleges, Antioch University Midwest recently announced a new, exclusive program with Southern State Community College in aviation education.
The university’s Midwest campus had paired previously, in December, with the Hillsboro-based community college to begin offering what is called a “3-plus-1” plan in certain areas of study. The plan allows full-time students in prescribed disciplines to complete three years of coursework at the community college and one year at the university to earn a bachelor’s degree. Typically, students transferring from an associate to a bachelor’s degree program take two years of classes at each school.
AUM also announced in December a similar “3-plus-1” agreement with Clark State Community College in Springfield, and has since added a comparable arrangement with Sinclair Community College in Dayton in specified areas of study. An agreement of intent has also been signed with Cincinnati State, said Sonya Fultz, Antioch Midwest’s chair of undergraduate studies, in a phone interview this week.
The new aviation maintenance program will work similarly, with students attending Southern State’s Wilmington, Ohio, branch campus for three years, and then acquiring their last 33 credit hours through Antioch Midwest. The new aviation program also builds on a partnership Southern State already had with the Wilmington-based Laurel Oaks career center, in which high school students can earn credits toward an associate degree.
The 3-plus-1 aviation students start by earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering: Aviation Maintenance through Southern State, and then they enroll at Antioch Midwest to complete a bachelor’s degree in Applied Technology & Leadership.
Officials at both schools said that the associate degree gives students the technical credentials to begin working in aviation maintenance, and the bachelor’s degree component, rooted in the liberal arts, improves their employability and increases opportunities for advancement into management and other supervisory positions.
“It’s a great plan for our students,” said Amy McClellan, the coordinator of academic partnerships at Southern State.
She said that “technical students who like working with their hands” have few opportunities to continue their education past the associate degree level in such a direct, holistic and seamless way.
AUM’s Sonya Fultz agreed. She noted that the typical transition from an associate degree program to a four-year school can involve a change in educational and career focus, rather than a clear continuation of a student’s educational path.
The cost is reduced as well, Fultz said. She estimated that 3-plus-1 students save about $13,000 in college expenses through the plan.
Antioch Midwest expects 18-20 new students this fall through the various 3-plus-1 programs currently in place, Fultz said. The first student in the aviation program is already registered as well, she added, although the partnership is just newly announced.
AUM’s fall classes start after Labor Day, and the application deadline is Monday, Aug. 28. Fultz said.
For the spring semester, which begins in January, AUM’s piece of the aviation program will be fully available online, she said. The format is meant to serve the particular needs of this student cohort, many of whom “move right into their field” after earning their aviation maintenance accreditation. “It allows them to work and start a family.”
Fultz said that Antioch Midwest’s partnerships with regional community colleges reflects the university’s commitment to expanding educational opportunities for more students while increasing AUM enrollment.
“It certainly is the way in which we see our programs growing,” she said.
Midwest Provost and Campus CEO Marian Glancy described the partnerships as “mission-centric” for AUM, but not a change in emphasis.
“It’s not a case of the university shifting its focus from undergraduate degrees rooted in the liberal arts bedrock,” Glancy said. The new programs represent an “expansion, not a replacement” of the university’s “interdisciplinary core.”
What’s more, she said, they align with Antioch’s social justice heritage in that they offer “access and affordability to individuals coming through the community colleges” who may not otherwise have been able to attain a bachelor’s degree.
One effect of the new partnerships is that the university will be serving a younger group of students than in the past, when many students were older adults often seeking a second career. Fultz said university officials don’t see the changing demographics as a change in focus.
“We’ve always said we serve a nontraditional student population. What we’re seeing is students who are still nontraditional,” she said. “We like to think that we’re not shifting our population, but we’re growing our population.”
While forging new alliances, AUM hasn’t taken any new steps in its announced intentions to sell its building at the corner of Dayton-Yellow Springs and East Enon roads, according to Marketing Director Michael Metcalf.
University officials said in June that the 94,000-square-foot building could be put on the market as early as mid-July. Administrators also said that they were looking into relocating classes to several locations closer to Dayton. Metcalf wrote in an email last week that the building has yet to be put on the market and fall classes will take place there as in the past.