New York State law prohibits community colleges from offering bachelor's degrees, but with growing transfer populations, some four-year colleges and universities are taking the next logical step – offering the final two years of their academic programs right on local community college campuses.
SUNY Plattsburgh president John Ettling visited Troy recently to sign an agreement with Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak that will allow Plattsburgh's bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice to be offered right here on the Troy campus.
It's seen as a win-win for both schools. Criminal Justice is one of the largest academic degree programs at Hudson Valley, with around 100 to 120 graduates each year. And while the University at Albany and The College of Saint Rose accept many of those graduates each year, the Plattsburgh program will add another option for students, said Dr. Ann Geisendorfer, the department chairperson at Hudson Valley.
"We have students this fall who will take advantage of this opportunity," Geisendorfer said. "Plattsburgh is a SUNY school with an established program so we are very pleased they will be offering this option for continued study right on our campus."
SUNY schools aren't the only ones taking advantage of this opportunity, however. Last year, private Cazenovia College began offering its Human Services bachelors degree on a part-time evening basis on the Hudson Valley campus. It's already found success wooing graduates from Hudson Valley's associate degree program.
"It was a smart move for them and a great opportunity for our students," said HVCC Human Services department chair Karen Nash. "This is the only four-year Human Services program in this area being offered in this format."
The college's academic programs have longstanding relationships with other four-year schools. SUNY IT's Nursing program, for example, has allowed local students to complete a B.S. in Nursing right on the Hudson Valley campus for more than 20 years.
But with the agreements with Cazenovia and Plattsburgh over the past year, the trend seems to be accelerating. College officials say they are talking with other four-year institutions about similar arrangements down the road.
And Hudson Valley isn't the only local community college where the trend is evident. Schenectady County Community College houses bachelor's degree programs from SUNY Delhi in Business and Technology Management and Hospitality Management. In 2007, Adirondack Community College created a Regional Higher Education Center, and currently partners with both SUNY Plattsburgh and Empire State College to offer more than a dozen bachelor's and master's degree programs at its Queensbury campus.
Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 13,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 65,000 alumni.