Morgan State University, community colleges partner at Laurel College Center

Morgan State University president David Wilson signed a memorandum of agreement with the presidents of Howard and Prince George’s community colleges Monday morning to bring two of its baccalaureate degree programs to the Laurel College Center for students who plan to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree from the Baltimore City college.

The partnership will allow students with associate’s degrees from either community college to take courses from the university’s engineering and psychology programs beginning in the 2018 spring semester. Community college students seeking a Bachelor of Science in engineering or a Bachelor of Arts in psychology can take these Morgan State courses at the Laurel College Center, on Marshall Avenue in the city of Laurel.

As a regional higher education center, the Laurel College Center offers courses and degree programs for students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees or continuing education.

While many students wish to continue their education after two-year community college, Wilson said many of them have full-time jobs or families and don’t have time to drive to another campus, like Morgan State. The Laurel College Center is centrally located for Prince George’s, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, offering a convenience that wasn’t accessible before.

“We looked at what the needs were and there was a survey done with students at those institutions to see which baccalaureate degree they would be interested in pursuing if it were more convenient for them,” Wilson said. “These two were at the top of the list.”

Maryland is “the innovation hub” for engineering students and graduates, he said, and mental health is becoming increasingly important in society. The partnership brings junior- and senior-year coursework to the area’s community college students, saving them almost half the cost of annual tuition.

“They’re saving their costs because this is not a residential program,” Wilson said. “That’s where a lot of the costs for college are rooted – fees and room and board.”

Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College, said students also get the college experience with Morgan State faculty who teach the programs. Students will also have access to the university’s academic and research facilities, educational and learning resources and social and cultural events as well as the campus bookstore.

Hetherington said both programs, particularly engineering, are prominent at HCC, which opened its science, engineering and technology building last month.

“We see this as a perfect way for our students who get started at HCC to have a nice, seamless transfer to Morgan that is close to their home,” she said. “Morgan’s engineering program is highly regarded, so we’re excited for this partnership. Having trained people with bachelor’s degrees in psychology is really going to be positive for our region as well. They’re both in high demand.”

Charlene Dukes, president of Prince George’s Community College, said the partnership broadens the reach of higher education in the region and helps students find paths in higher education.

“Students don’t have to travel far in order to continue their education,” Dukes said. “The work Morgan State is doing under the leadership of president Wilson is awesome. It’s absolutely amazing.”

Wilson said Morgan State University plans to expand its program offerings for community colleges at the Laurel College Center as the university continues to survey the needs of students in the region.

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