NCCU, Durham Tech offer dual enrollment program
N.C. Central University and Durham Technical Community College made history Monday by becoming among the first university and college in the state to offer a dual enrollment residential academic transfer program.
Called “Eagle Connect,” the program will allow students enrolled at Durham Tech to live on the NCCU campus, which is about a mile away, for two years while they earn an associate’s degree.
After that, Eagle Connect students will transfer to NCCU as juniors to complete a bachelor’s degree.
“This is a historic moment,” said NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White.
The program is modeled after the dual enrollment residential program between Indiana University at Bloomington and Ivy Tech Community College called “Hoosier Link,” which Durham Tech President Bill Ingram saw firsthand during a 2012 trip to Bloomington.
“Right away we recognized the potential for a partnership between a world-class university and a world-class college to serve the community,” Ingram said. “When we returned to Durham, we realized that, with the right leadership at N.C. Central, the time was right.”
The first Eagle Connect class is projected to have about 26 students. Student will have access to targeted academic advising, student support serves and a student-life component designed to help them meet the academic requirements for transferring to NCCU
Saunders-White said she and Ingram agree that the 26 students expected in the first class are fewer than what the two would like to see enrolled in the program.
“We had to turn students away this year,” Saunders-White said. “He [Ingram] doesn’t like that and I don’t like that.”
Tracy Mancini, dean of arts, sciences and university transfer at Durham Tech, said the college already sends about 55 to 60 students to NCCU each year.
“These students perform well academically and persist in their pursuit of bachelor’s degrees, often going on to pursue master’s degrees and professional degrees from North Carolina Central and other universities,” Mancini said. “We hope the Eagle Connect program will help us increase the number of high-quality students who transfer from Durham Tech to North Carolina Central.”
Monica Leach, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management at NCCU, said Eagle Connect will “open new doors of opportunity” for students to further their educations.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed Monday by NCCU and Durham Tech officials isn’t the first partnership between Durham Tech and NCCU.
Durham Tech students have worked within NCCU’s BRITE program, a biotechnology educational initiative.
And the two schools have had articulation agreements and study tracks in place over the years for programs such as nursing, accounting, criminal justice, public administration and biology with a concentration in pharmaceutical science.
Ingram said the partnership between Durham Tech and NCCU makes sense for the community for many reasons, including the fact that the two institutions have been collaborating for more than 40 years.
“This is just an extension of partnerships we have enjoyed,” Ingram said. “We are neighbors in a very real sense and we recognize the responsibility that we have to serve or neighborhood, which has great potential but also great challenges.”
He said the program should lead to increased numbers of transfers from Durham Tech to NCCU and serve as a model for other schools across the state.
The program comes online as the State Board of Community Colleges and the UNC Board of Governors have urged more collaboration and recently signed a revised comprehensive articulation agreement to more easily define college transfer options.
This statewide change will take effect in the fall. It identifies foundational courses that will transfer to all UNC campuses to meet general education requirements, and encourages community college students to complete an associate degree.
Brandon Johnson, 18, of Plymouth, was one of three students enrolled in the inaugural Eagle Connect class in attendance when the agreement was signed Monday on the NCCU campus.
Johnson said he is excited about coming to Durham to begin his college career.
“I can go to Durham Tech and stay on campus at NCCU and get the best of both worlds,” said Johnson, who plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice.