MCC & USF Strengthen and Extend Cooperation Agreement

The two top administrators of MCC and USF Sarasota-Manatee ceremoniously entered a brand new era of educational cooperation in a signing ceremony held April 19 at MCC Venice. MCC President Dr. Sarah H. Pappas and USF Sarasota-Manatee CEO Dr. Laurey Stryker inked a new articulation agreement that enhances a landmark 2001 cooperation agreement between the two schools.

Among its many benefits, the new agreement strengthens what many people know as the "2 + 2 Program" -- which streamlines the transfer process for college students who take freshman and sophomore level classes at MCC and then finish their junior and senior years at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

One of the new enhancements enables MCC graduates to receive provisional early acceptance at USF Sarasota-Manatee. An MCC student in good academic standing who successfully finishes 30 hours toward an associate's degree at MCC is eligible to attend USF Sarasota-Manatee after MCC graduation and completion of required USF paperwork.

"Essentially, an MCC graduate will have a step ahead of other applicants at USF Sarasota-Manatee, because of this automatic provisional acceptance," said Stryker.

Additionally, the new articulation agreement includes a noncompete clause. MCC will retain its focus on a wide realm of associate's degrees, while USF Sarasota-Manatee will maintain its offerings of numerous bachelor's and master's degrees.

"In an era when many two-year community colleges are striving to become four-year colleges, this agreement between MCC and USF bucks the trend," said Pappas. "The wisdom and strength of this new agreement lies in the mutual benefits that result from focusing on our own institutions' respective strengths."

While the agreement now specifies that both schools will maintain their respective educational turfs, they also will collaborate to develop joint-use facilities at MCC Venice toward the goal of providing additional higher education opportunities to more residents of south Sarasota County.

"MCC and USF Sarasota-Manatee have already been cooperating and co-existing very successfully since 2001," said Rip duPont, Chairman of MCC's Board of Trustees. "This new agreement will increase and expand that cooperation, enabling additional successes for traditional and non-traditional students throughout the region -- especially the fast-growing area around MCC Venice."

Jan Smith, Chairman of USF Sarasota-Manatee's Campus Board and a member of the USF Board of Trustees, sees additional benefits of the new agreement.

"The business community benefits tremendously from such educational cooperation, due to increased efficiencies and additional joint staffing opportunities," said Smith.

The most-recent USF student enrollment data indicates that a large number of MCC graduates are already continuing their junior and senior years at USF Sarasota-Manatee. For example, among 1,829 former MCC students who enrolled at any of the four USF campuses for the current Spring 2006 semester, 953 (or 52%) of those former MCC students are enrolled at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

One of those students is Tara Spielman, a former business owner and current homemaker who is majoring in elementary education at USF Sarasota-Manatee after graduating from MCC in 2005. She also is a recent inductee into the ranks of Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

"The course schedule worked well for me - the hours allowed me to be available for my family and fulfill my academic pursuits," said Spielman. "The best thing about 2 + 2 was that I was able to take 75 percent of my classes at MCC Venice, which is only 10 minutes from my home."

For more information about the new agreement: Go online at or, or call MCC enrollment services at (941) 752-5005 or (941) 408-1300, ext. 65006 or USF Sarasota-Manatee Student Services at (941) 359-4330.

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