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ACC and UHCL Pearland Campus complete first semester of new partnership
UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE
When Alvin Community College District voters rejected a $48.5 bond for an infrastructure overhaul and construction of a new technical and academic building on the ACC campus, administrators were faced with finding a solution to the problem of accessing classroom space for its ever-increasing student population. For the fall 2017 semester, ACC and University of Houston-Clear Lake forged a partnership to offer courses at the university’s Pearland campus, providing ACC students access to freshman and sophomore-level general education classes like college algebra, English composition, psychology and U.S. history.
“The loss of that bond turned out to be a gain for many ACC students,” said Kathy Dupree, executive director of campus operations at UH-Clear Lake Pearland Campus. “(ACC President) Christal Albrecht and (retired UHCL President) William A. Staples discussed creating a partnership between the two colleges for a long time, and it’s finally worked out.”
Dupree said that the student population at UH-Clear Lake Pearland Campus is still mostly upperclass or graduate students, but the partnership presented an opportunity to have lower level classes on the Pearland Campus. “With this partnership, ACC now has a presence in the Pearland/Brazoria County area, and it gives students the chance to become acclimated with UHCL. We believe this will create a natural feed for ACC students to pursue a ‘2+2’ degree, and continue their academic career at UHCL Pearland Campus.”
Dupree said that for the first semester of this newly implemented partnership, administrators on both campuses were very pleased with the enrollment. “We now have 69 ACC students on the UHCL Pearland Campus,” she said. “It’s a great way to let students get comfortable with a four-year college setting and realize they can manage and stay on for two more years.”
Pearland resident Eddie Mata, 46, is a network services manager at AT&T. He’s also receiving his associate degree in applied science and mathematics from ACC in December. “My classes on the Pearland Campus have been so convenient to me and my work,” he said. “They offered the classes I needed to finish my degree plan. It’s all in my backyard.”
Mata said he plans to gain acceptance to UHCL Pearland Campus in 2018 and continue his studies toward a bachelor’s degree. “I would like to keep the momentum going,” he said. “I’m already in the rhythm, blocking off time from work to manage what I need to accomplish for my studies.
“Taking classes at UHCL Pearland Campus strongly influenced my decision to continue my studies. It has all the resources I need, and it’s a very comfortable campus environment,” he said.
And being a bit older than the average college student did not bother Mata at all. “I didn’t feel like I stuck out as an older person,” Mata said. “It was a little unsettling at first; I felt anxious and a little awkward, but it’s a good mix of students. More than half the students are young adults just starting, but there are a lot of other older adults who have families and jobs who are trying to further their education. It was a good enough mix that it helped my anxieties go away.”
At 38, Rosharon resident Jael Anorga has completed her associate degree in health science and will graduate this December from ACC. “I’ve achieved my first goal. It’s not the end,” she said. “I have been taking my ACC classes at the UHCL Pearland Campus and I love it. It’s so convenient for me, and the parking is so easy. That’s a really big perk. My next goal is to get my RN-to-BSN and UHCL Pearland Campus is now building a new Health Sciences building. I think it’s a sign for me to continue.”
Anorga said that she applied to University of Texas Health Science Center to begin her RN program, but if she does not get accepted, she will get her RN from ACC. “Because I have already attended classes at UHCL Pearland Campus, I know I will feel comfortable about making the transition when I am ready to do the RN-to-BSN,” she said.
“I feel like I’m already here, and it was a little scary at first but not as bad as I thought. Just thinking about a four-year university is scary, but the classes I have taken here have made it easy for me to think about the transition,” she said.
Dupree said that partnership between the two college campuses has gotten off to a great start and will remain steady. “The Pearland Campus was not included in the original downward expansion package signed by Gov. Rick Perry, so we are very happy to have ACC students on our campus,” she said.
For more information about enrolling at UHCL Pearland Campus, visit www.uhcl.edu/pearland.