Tuesday, 13 April 2021 20:38

RichmondCC expands 'Growing Our Own' initiative in deal with Lees-McRae

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Kevin J. Phillips, vice president for Enrollment Management at Lees-McRae College, and Richmond Community College President Dr. Dale McInnis sign an agreement to make the transition for future teachers easier from the community college to the private college. Kevin J. Phillips, vice president for Enrollment Management at Lees-McRae College, and Richmond Community College President Dr. Dale McInnis sign an agreement to make the transition for future teachers easier from the community college to the private college. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — Future teachers who get their start at Richmond Community College now have a private school option to earn their bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate.


RichmondCC President Dr. Dale McInnis and Kevin J. Phillips, vice president for Enrollment Management at Lees-McRae College, inked an agreement Tuesday at Cole Auditorium as another addition to the “Growing Our Own Teachers” initiative.

“This is a great day as we create another tool in our tool kit, another option for our students and their families,” McInnis said.

Lees-McRae is a private college in Banner Elk, in the mountain region of the state, founded at the turn of the 20th century. In 1990, it transitioned from a two-year college to a four-year institution.

Phillips said Lees-McRae President Dr. Herbert King is focusing on expanding the college’s partnership, which led to new agreement.

“There’s a lot of teaching jobs available in the state of North Carolina right now, and it’s never more important that we hire and educate quality teachers for the future,” Phillips said. “So we really are excited about this.”

McInnis said what the plan “boils down to” is a two-year degree with four education courses “that will make it seamless for one of our graduates to go directly into the School of Education and leave licensed, ready to go to work.”

“Now that’s a big deal,” McInnis continued, “because a lot of the programs don’t allow you to walk out with your teaching license … that’s a great distinction … In some cases, you get the degree and you have to turn right back around and do extra work in order to become a licensed teacher.”

According to McInnis, local communities are currently reliant on out-of-state teacher recruitment.

“We’re glad they come down here, but they don’t stay, unfortunately, as long as we would like,” McInnis said. “And that creates an unsustainable situation.”

RichmondCC, McInnis added, wants to be part of the solution “to stabilize the quantity and quality of local teachers.”

“The success of our students depends on the foundation they receive … in those formative years, especially (kindergarten through sixth grade),” McInnis said. “This is a huge next step for us.”

Phillips said the instructors and program coordinator all have extensive backgrounds in the education field, as does the dean of Arts, Humanities and Education.

The college’s degrees are offered on the main campus as well as online.

The best thing about the agreement, Phillips said, is that Lees-McRae has a “pretty inexpensive price tag to start with,” with each class costing just less than $1,000 per year.

Plus RichmondCC students will get discounts on tuition — and those discounts apply to all transfer students from Richmond, not just those in the teaching program.

Phillips said they will receive $30 off per credit hour for online classes and $2,000 off of yearly tuition — including books — for on-campus courses.

There is also a $30 discount for anyone employed or engaged in an internship with an education-related job, as well as a $10-$30 discount for Phi Theta Kappa members.

Add in state and federal assistance and Phillips says students get a good deal.

“Many of our students are paying even less than they would to attend a state school and getting that small, personal private-school education,” Phillips said.

During his remarks, McInnis recognized Patsy Stanley for helping negotiate agreements with four-year institutions, and Kevin Parsons and his team for crafting the plan.

This isn’t the first agreement between the two schools.

In 2018, they created a transfer pathway for RichmondCC graduates of the Human Services Technology program to earn a bachelor’s degree online at Lees-McRae.

Last month, RichmondCC announced the “Growing Our Own” initiative in a partnership with UNC-Pembroke.

“We’re happy to have this new partnership, this new opportunity for our students, this new choice for our students,” McInnis said about the Lees-McRae deal. 

He added that RichmondCC will be rolling out its fall schedule starting next week, giving students “a lot of options in terms of time, place and space in which to take the right combination of courses.”

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 April 2021 20:48