A new pilot program set to begin in January at the Alexandria Technical and Community College is expected to serve service members, including sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.
The local college is one of five institutions from across the country selected to become education partners with the U.S. Naval Community College.
Nearly 600 students nationwide are expected to participate in the pilot program, which will run January through June of next year.
During the pilot, the Alexandria college will deliver online classes including calculus I, calculus II and statistics to about 90 service members. These courses will apply toward a new ATCC degree program in nuclear engineering technology designed to serve the military.
“We are very honored to have been selected to be a partner with the USNCC in this pilot,” said Michael Seymour, president of ATCC. “We are proud of our outstanding record of student success and our nationwide reputation for delivering quality education. Our caring staff and faculty stand ready to ensure military members have a great experience at ATCC.”
Other institutions selected to partner with the naval college, include The State University of New York, the University of Maryland Global Campus, the Virginia Community College System and the University of Arizona.
“We are very excited to be working with top colleges and universities to bring to the members of our maritime service community programs that are going to be of high value and help them achieve their educational goals,” said Dr. Randi Cosentino, president of the U.S. Naval Community College.
Cosentino also said that now that it has identified the collaborating schools, the college can move forward with its program to ensure it offers the best education to service members and benefit all of those involved.
“The pilot will allow us to collect important data that will inform the development of the USNCC,” said Cosentino. “Working in consortium with leading colleges will help us explore outcomes around the design of the program, the processes involved, working relationships and overall impact.”
Alexandria Technical and Community College Dean of Educational Services, Tamara Arnott, said that ATCC’s accomplished history and innovative disposition equips them to successfully serve the naval college and its service members.
“As a member of the Minnesota State system, we have agility in meeting employer and student needs and can leverage access to courses, programs and outstanding faculty through relationships with our 29 sister colleges and seven state universities,” said Arnott. “Additionally, our partnership with Distance Minnesota, a Minnesota State system provider of outstanding academic and student support, gives us the student service infrastructure needed to serve a large online audience.”
The concept of the naval college came out of a study seeking to identify opportunities to better prepare enlisted service members and to support them through their career, according to Consentino.
She added that Naval leadership directed the college to begin pilot programs to identify the best way to help enlisted naval service members access naval-relevant education opportunities that will make them better warfighters, improve operational readiness and support lifelong learning.
And because the Alexandria Technical and Community College has been consistently selected by the Aspen Institute as a top 150 college in the nation and the college is recognized in numerous other rankings including being named Minnesota’s No. 1 college by Wallethub, it was a perfect fit for the pilot program.
The college will be eligible to apply for a second pilot program planned for 2022 that will focus on other disciplines and may involve 5,000 students nationwide.
To read more about the success of the college, go to alextech.edu/recognition. The college’s mission is to create opportunity for individuals and businesses through education, innovation, and leadership. For additional information, visit alextech.edu.