OCCC’s alliance with tech center equals more degrees

February 6, 2015 Feature Print Print
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Respiratory Care Therapist. Prosthetics Technician. Network Technology. Manufacturing Technology. Diesel Technology. Aviation Maintenance Technology.

These are a sample of degrees offered through Oklahoma’s Cooperative Alliance program — which gives students a chance to pursue certain tech degrees that colleges such as OCCC do not directly offer but will give credit for.

The Cooperative Alliance program was created by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, so students “can earn college credit toward an Associate in Applied Science degree by successfully completing courses at both technology centers and colleges in Oklahoma,” according to the OSRHE website.

Academic Advising Director Tamara Madden said career technology centers add to what OCCC already offers.

“The tech centers have some specialties that we don’t,” Madden said.

“We give the student the opportunity to learn the skills and the trade, but also work toward an associate degree and completing their general education core.

“The tech centers basically provide the specialty of the degree.”

Madden said, from a student perspective, this means they can participate in a degree program that their two-year college does not specifically offer, at a local  career tech center, while taking their general education classes at their college.

She said students pursue an associate degree through OCCC and take other classes through the tech centers.

“The tech centers have an agreement to send us a transcript so that we can provide that credit.”

Madden said all Cooperative Alliance degrees are listed in the OCCC course catalog with the rest of the degrees the college offers.

She said the Cooperative Alliance degrees are listed with a hash mark next to them under the pages for each academic division and their programs.

Cooperative Alliance Program Director Alexa Mashlan said the program is currently under review and some changes are forthcoming.

“Some of the programs may still be there, but others may be gone entirely,” she said. “There are going to be some drastic changes.”

Even so, Madden said, students in any of the programs should not be worried.

“All the colleges have to be sure that these programs meet the higher learning commission’s accreditation requirements,” she said.

“That’s why the state is doing a review, and there are some changes coming.

“And I really don’t know that it’s that important to students, because all the cooperative alliance programs at this time are going to continue.

“If they enrolled in the fall, they’re going to be grandfathered in to whatever happens.

“If there’s any action that the college will take, it’s going to be in the best interest of the student,” he said.

“I attended a session to get an update as to what’s going on with them, and in December they were supposed to have kind of a finalized meeting to determine how they were going to address credits.”

However, Madden said, the college is not worried about the program losing any ground because of the upcoming changes.

“All the talk of the change has to do with how the colleges evaluate the credits, and being that the state’s working on it, they’re going to find a way,” she said.

“I have a lot of faith that the state will figure it out.”

Mashlan said changes to the program are expected to be announced in late February, but could come later.

The Pioneer will follow the story and update its readers when the changes are official.

For more information about the current program, contact Cooperative Alliance Coordinator Melissa Dyer at 405-682-1611, ext. 7116, or mdyer@occc.edu; Mashlan at 405-682-1611, ext. 7721, or visit www.occc.edu/coop-ed.

To contact Clayton Mitchell, email sportswriter@occc.edu

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