Northeastern & NEO make higher ed a Smart Choice

Image of Dr. Jeff Hale, president of Northeastern A&M College and Dr. Don Betz, president of Northeastern State UniversityDr. Jeff Hale, president of Northeastern A&M College and Dr. Don Betz, president of Northeastern State University, put pen to paper for an historic signing of a Smart Choice proclamation, allowing NEO students to complete one of two four-year degree programs from NSU--without having to leave the Miami campus.

Miami, Okla. (Wednesday, March 31, 2010) -- This fall, students at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College can transition into a four-year degree program from Northeastern State University— without ever leaving the NEO campus. On Wednesday, March 31, Dr. Jeffery Hale, NEO president, and Dr. Don Betz, NSU president, formalized a partnership that has been in the works since February of 2009 to establish a “Smart Choice” agreement between the two institutions. A special signing ceremony was held for the occasion at the NEO campus.

The NEO/NSU Smart Choice partnership allows NEO students to pursue an NSU bachelor’s degree—making the transition from one institution to the other, a seamless one. Part of the Smart Choice agreement will allow NEO students to complete one of two bachelor’s degrees from NSU on NEO’s campus. The bachelor’s degrees will be available to students pursuing a career in Criminal Justice or Human Family Sciences/Early Care. Class work will be offered through a traditional classroom setting and through distance learning. “Creating access to an even higher level of post-secondary education is a priority for the administration at NEO,” said Hale. “This partnership is a significant step toward that. NEO students will now have access to a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice or Human Family Sciences/Early Care in a location that is familiar, comfortable and convenient. NEO is thrilled for this opportunity and looks forward to the student success that will follow.”

Smart Choice is illustrated by a ‘Blue & Gold to Green & White’ logo that represents the ease of transitioning from one school’s color to the other as the student progresses through a college career. The model partnership will work to increase the number of bachelor’s degree holders in the region, a long-term objective of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education that can result in higher income for individuals and overall economic, social and cultural benefits for the state.

“Today’s competitive climate makes the need for a college degree now more important than ever—for individuals and communities,” Betz said. “Providing a seamless transition from NEO into one of two NSU baccalaureate programs is just the start. From here, dreams will find direction and ambition will take root. Our commitment is to continue to look for ways to fuel those dreams, nurture that ambition and grow the lives in this state. Our futures depend upon it.”

Presently, the Smart Choice plan provides four-year course outlines, known as “Roadmaps to Success,” in two areas of study at NEO- Criminal Justice and Human Family Sciences/Early Care. These are the same fields in which NSU will offer a bachelor’s degree on the NEO campus.

Students transferring to NSU who are also taking advantage of the Smart Choice program may be eligible to receive a $2,000 scholarship awarded each semester. Two NEO students who have plans to transfer to NSU next fall have already been honored with this scholarship. William Zach Christie is a resident of Kansas, Okla., majoring in criminal justice. Whitney Brown, a resident of Wyandotte, is an early childhood education major.

Officials from both institutions hope to raise the number of complete articulated ‘roadmaps’ as the need increases. NEO and NSU recruiters and counselors will use the four-year plans to help students make long-range decisions as they seek to further their educational careers. An NSU recruiter/advisor will travel to the NEO campus to provide transcript evaluations and assist NEO students with enrollment and advisement. Additional degree options are available if students want to transfer to the Tahlequah, Broken Arrow or Muskogee campuses.

NSU holds Smart Choice agreements with Tulsa Community College, Connors State College and Eastern Oklahoma State College. Those partnerships also provide transfer students opportunities to make a seamless transition to pursue a bachelor’s degree at NSU.

For more information, visit www.nsuok.edu/smartchoice/neo.

Published: 4/2/2010 8:56:25 AM

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