FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has partnered with Motlow State Community College to offer an agriculture degree in Fayetteville.
Officials with TSU and MSCC have been talking to media and high school teachers about the “2 + 2” program, which allows students to get a bachelor’s in Agricultural Sciences. There have been two open houses about the program, and an “enrollment event” was held June 12 at the MSCC Fayetteville Campus.
“We’re trying to generate as much buzz in the community as possible,” said Dr. John Ricketts, a professor of agricultural sciences at TSU and a facilitator of the TSU-MSCC Ag program.
Ricketts, along with Dr. Samuel Nahashon, the chair of TSU’s Agricultural Sciences Department, traveled to Fayetteville in the university’s mobile agriscience lab earlier this month.
Under the “2 + 2” Ag program, participants get an associate’s degree at MSCC, then have the option of getting a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences from TSU, which can be conveniently done at MSCC.
“The 2 + 2 program is great because it’s going to allow them to continue to get a four-year degree in the field they love of agriculture, but do it by staying close by in Lincoln County,” said Lisa Smith, assistant dean of the Motlow Fayetteville Campus.
TSU professors will teach in a combination of ways that include traveling to Fayetteville and providing instruction remotely, according to TSU officials.
Ricketts and several TSU administrators spoke to Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) about the program this month.
“We make every effort for the students to see and interact with TSU professors, and to gain the same classroom experience they would if they were on TSU’s main campus,” said Dr. Sharon Peters, executive director of Community College Initiatives in the Division of Academic Affairs at TSU.
The program, which is scheduled to start in the fall, is a continued effort by TSU to help students in rural areas meet the demand for trained professionals in different fields.
“We don’t produce, as a country, enough graduates in agriculture to meet all the needs of the employers,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “In the rural parts of Tennessee, there are a lot of people engaged in agriculture. This program provides those people access to a higher education.”
The university currently has a similar program at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee, that leads to a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and criminal justice. A program on Motlow’s main campus in Tullahoma, Tennessee, leads to a degree in criminal justice; and one is planned for the Motlow-McMinnville, Tennessee, campus in 2019 that will offer a degree in engineering, with a focus on megatronics.
“TSU is committed to the growth of 2+2 programs because they represent sustained growth in our transfer student population and outreach to our neighbors in Tennessee’s rural communities,” said Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president of Academic Affairs at TSU.
In the case of the most recent TSU-MSCC partnership, the degree completion program will target adults who began college but never finished, and traditional age students with an interest in agriculture that would prefer to study close to home.
“Students will be able to finish a four-year degree program, which is required for lots of the different types of jobs they want to go into,” said Ricketts. “It’s a benefit all the way around.”
Peters said students who have an associate’s degree and continue their education usually have a “high rate of completion.”
“They’ve demonstrated they can make it through two years of post-secondary education,” she said. “They’re focused. A lot of these students end up being some of our high achievers.”
The TSU-MSCC Ag program is awaiting final approval from the TSU Board of Trustees.
For more information about the Ag program, contact Lisa Smith at 931-433-9350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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