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WSSU, DCCC sign two transfer partnership agreements

Dr. Anthony Graham (left), WSSU's provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, and Dr. Darrin Hartness, president of Davidson County Community College, shake hands after signing two new transfer partnership agreements for students in DCCC's Zoo & Aquarium Science program.

Two new transfer agreements will create opportunities for Davidson County Community College (DCCC) graduates to pursue a bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State University (WSSU).

The 2+2 agreements will create a streamlined path for graduates of DCCC’s Zoo & Aquarium Science program to enter WSSU with junior status – 60 or more credit hours – to pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology.

“We are pleased to partner with DCCC to provide the opportunity for its graduates to advance their careers through a bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State,” said Dr. Anthony Graham, WSSU’s provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “These new agreements illustrate WSSU’s commitment to providing access to baccalaureate degrees for North Carolina residents in critical workforce areas.”

The agreements were signed at a ceremony at DCCC on Tuesday, July 2, which was attended by administrators and faculty from WSSU and DCCC. Graduates of the programs can begin enrolling at WSSU this fall.

"This is a big step forward for the success, not only for Winston-Salem State University and DCCC, but most importantly, the students we will now both serve," said Dr. Darrin Hartness, DCCC’s president. "This is the opportunity for students who are passionate about zoology and biology to have a streamlined pathway to continue their education. I can't wait to see where this partnership will take our students." 

Community College Outreach

This is the first of two signings for WSSU academic leaders over the next month, as WSSU expands opportunities for area community college students to pursue baccalaureate degrees in critical workforce areas, such as STEM, healthcare, and early childhood and K-12 education.

WSSU will sign a similar agreement with Forsyth Technical Community College (Forsyth Tech) on Aug. 1 for the college’s biotechnology program. All three agreements are for Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) programs. Because A.A.S. programs are not covered by the state’s comprehensive articulation agreement, many graduates have been left without a clear path to a bachelor’s degree.

Since arriving at WSSU last July, Graham has made it a priority to build closer relationships with community college leaders from across the region. Over the past year, he has visited with eight community college leaders, and has meetings with four more this fall.

“Each community college leader with whom I have met has expressed a desire to work more closely with Winston-Salem State University, and these leaders challenged us to think critically about ways to better serve their students,” Graham said. “We have to think differently about the ways we deliver our courses beyond the traditional Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. offerings.”

WSSU’s five-year strategic enrollment management plan calls for increasing the number of new transfer students by 67% by fall 2022 through new partnerships and enhanced recruiting and marketing efforts. Graham said WSSU provides not only an affordable choice for transfer students but also a “signature approach with personalized student engagement” that’s not available at larger colleges and universities.

DCCC’s Zoo & Aquarium Science Program

DCCC is the only college in the nation to offer two-year degrees in both zoo science and aquarium science. More than 40 students are enrolled in the hands-on programs annually. The new agreements will help DCCC attract additional students who are interested in careers in areas such as biology, zoology, marine biology and veterinary medicine, said Dr. Margaret Annunziata, DCCC’s vice president of Academic Affairs.

"Our Zoo & Aquarium Science program has always been a point of pride for DCCC, but we wanted to push that boundary even further," Annunziata said. "Not only does this open the door for students seeking diverse career pathways in zoology and biology, but allows for an enriched academic and professional foundation based in hands-on experience and education that is unique to the Zoo and Aquarium Science programs at Davidson County Community College."  

Students complete four internships for the zoo science program and three internships for the aquarium science program before they graduate. The hands-on experience helps graduates obtain employment upon graduation.

WSSU’s Department of Biological Sciences

Biology is one of the fastest growing majors at WSSU, ranking as the second largest major behind nursing. Since 2015-16, there has been a 40% increase in enrollment in biological sciences. The program also has seen a 70% increase in graduates from 2015-16, with 60 graduates in 2018-19.

The department – part of the College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education – offers small class sizes that allow students to work closely with their professors.

“These agreements allow students to transfer in almost all of the specialized aquarium and zoo science courses which will be considered part of their curriculum at WSSU,” said Dr. Manju Bhat, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. “This also allows students to not only complete the required biology curriculum efficiently but also take elective courses at WSSU as part of their degree program.”

WSSU ranks as one of the 100 largest producers of bachelor’s degrees in sciences for African Americans in the nation. Starting in 2020, STEM students will benefit from a $53 million sciences building that’s under construction on campus. The 103,000-square-foot building anchor for WSSU’s Science District will offer lab space to increase faculty and student collaboration.

In 2018, WSSU received a record $2.3 million in new National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to expand faculty-mentored undergraduate research for students in biology and other STEM fields. 

Biology majors at WSSU can opt for a general curriculum or choose to focus in one of five concentrations: biotechnology; cellular and molecular; microbiology; neuroscience; or pre-health professional.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

About Davidson County Community College
Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is a fully accredited, multi-campus college where students of all ages and backgrounds pursue academic and career-focused education in order to build successful futures. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers more than 40 degree and professional certificate programs to students in Davidson and Davie counties, as well as affordable college-credit coursework to students who plan to transfer to 4-year universities. With a mission to serve the changing needs of students competing in a global environment, DCCC is committed to quality education, innovative and equitable learning experiences, training, and support across a wide range of 21st-century career fields. Visit Davidson County Community College at DavidsonCCC.edu.

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