Someday it may be possible to earn a master's degree on the campus of Harford Community College.
The college, which awards associate of art degrees, wants to create partnerships with colleges and universities throughout the state so the institution can offer advanced degrees to county residents, said Richard J. Pappas, the college president.
The goal is to make classes for advanced degrees accessible locally.
Last week, Harford Community College took a step in that direction when it announced that bachelor's degrees in business and nursing would be available on the campus through a partnership with the Weekend College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
Classes for the degree will start in September and are expected to cost about $150 for each credit hour, college administrators said.
The bachelor's programs will mark the first time students have been able to get a bachelor's degree by taking classes solely on the Harford Community College campus. Notre Dame faculty will teach the weekend classes. Students will receive their degree ,, from Notre Dame.
"We found in a survey that one out of every two adults [in Harford County] wanted and needed further education, but did not have the time because of conflicts with their job and family," Pappas said.
He said a bachelor's degree in business was the most requested degree in a survey the college conducted in the community.
The college decided to offer the bachelor's degree in the nursing program because its existing two-year program, an associate of arts degree in nursing, is well-known, Pappas said.
If the Notre Dame programs are successful, Pappas said the college would like to expand the weekend college to other disciplines, including computer science, education, engineering and various sciences. Those degrees probably would be offered in partnership with other state colleges and universities, he said.
Pappas said he meets frequently with local business people to determine what kind of training they seek in potential employees.
For example, the Upper Chesapeake Health System Inc., which operates Harford Memorial and Fallston General hospitals, is discussing a program that would train students as radiologic technologists on the campus of Harford Community College, said Allan Acton, vice president of marketing and business development at Upper Chesapeake. Radiologic technologists operate X-ray machines and other hospital equipment.
The hospitals may supply the college with some equipment and money to set up the program, Acton said. Upper Chesapeake might also be willing to allow on-site hospital training for radiological students, he said.
This is the first time Notre Dame, which began its weekend college in 1975, has established a satellite program, said Ruth Lawson Walsh, director of public relations at Notre Dame. Notre Dame will pay Harford Community College 6 percent of its tuition receipts for operating expenses.
A $100,000 seed grant from the Maryland Higher Education Commission for the HCC-Notre Dame program will pay for weekend services, such as the library, computer labs and the campus bookstore.