Leaders of Radford University and Emory & Henry College joined together earlier last week to sign cooperative agreements establishing three new accelerated graduate programs that will significantly shorten the time it takes for students to complete their undergraduate and graduate education.
For the Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Strategic Communication and the Master of Science or Master of Arts in English, the partnership will provide a pathway for students to accelerate their courses of study by completing both their undergraduate degrees and their graduate degrees in approximately five years of full-time study, compared to the six-plus years this undertaking usually requires.
The agreement was officially signed on Radford’s campus on Nov. 5 by Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill and Emory & Henry College President Jake B. Schrum, as well as Radford University Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kenna M. Colley. Also in attendance were Emory & Henry College Associate Provost Michael Puglisi and Vice President for Marketing and Communications Jennifer Pearce, as well as various Radford University academic and administrative leaders and faculty.
At the signing event, Colley commended the creativity and hard work of the faculty, staff and administrators at both institutions. “The creation of this endeavor required a lot of work and collaboration,” she said.
“This opportunity will allow our undergraduate students to benefit by gaining up to 12 credits toward their graduate degree, while still being enrolled as both juniors and seniors on Emory & Henry’s campus. We are excited about this new venture, and we look forward to the first students arriving in these programs soon.”
Under the agreement, select Emory & Henry students who have completed a minimum of 90 credits may enroll in up to two courses per semester or summer term (maximum of four courses) in one of the three accelerated graduate programs at Radford University, while also completing their degree requirements at Emory & Henry. Courses may be delivered online or on the Radford campus.
Emory & Henry College is a private, co-educational liberal arts institution located in Emory, Virginia, with four additional teaching sites located along the Interstate-81 E&H Education Corridor, from Marion to Bristol, Virginia. Established in 1836, the college enrolls approximately 1,000 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students mostly in its School of Health Sciences in Marion. Although the two institutions are different in many ways, President Hemphill said, “There are some common things that tie us, and that’s our commitment, our passion and our dedication to our students and ensuring that they’re going to have great success.”
“Today’s signing will mark a significant milestone for our institutions and our commitment to lifelong learning,” President Hemphill continued. “Indeed, this partnership, which officially comes to life today, is aimed at opening new doors and encouraging today’s workforce to gain tomorrow’s skills. The graduates from these accelerated programs will make a difference in Southwest Virginia and across our nation.”
President Schrum said he was excited about the collaboration, and he thanked Radford University administrators for initiating the partnership.
“Partnerships in higher education are very important to us,” said President Schrum. “Each institution has its own strengths and appeal to certain students. The Commonwealth of Virginia is full of educational opportunities and options for a variety of students. We know that access and affordability toward advanced degrees will continue to be a concern going forward and we’re pleased to partner with Radford to provide these three new options to our students.”
“We value this opportunity to work with Radford University in providing our students avenues to pursue a graduate degree in Business Administration, English or Strategic Communication,” said Associate Provost Puglisi. “We share the mission of addressing the needs of our region by preparing professionals who can stay in Southwest Virginia, if they so choose, and serve their communities. This partnership enhances that mission.”
— Sherry Wallace