New pathways to a Mines degree

by | Jan 27, 2022 | Inside Mines, Winter 2022 | 0 comments

Student studying with a laptop

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) signed an agreement with Mines in 2021 to partner on a new Associate in Engineering Science (AES) degree that will smooth the transfer path from community college to a four-year degree program at Mines.

Though students from CCCS institutions are already able to transfer to Mines, the new AES degree will streamline the process.

“Mines is excited to partner with CCCS on this new degree program and pathway to Mines,” said Mines President Paul C. Johnson. “It is important to us to provide admission opportunities for students from all backgrounds, particularly those who dream of being engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs but may not be ready or able to enter Mines directly from high school. Many of our successful alumni fell into this category with their Mines journey. In partnership with CCCS, we can ensure that those students are ready for Mines and the successful completion of one of our highly ranked degree programs in the applied sciences, business and engineering. Giving transfer students a clear and efficient path for starting their education at a community college and finishing at Mines is a benefit to everyone—the community college, Mines, our state and, most importantly, the student.”

Mines faculty collaborated with colleagues at CCCS to develop the two-year curriculum, which tracks as closely as possible to the rigorous core curriculum at Mines. Graduates of the AES program will complete the core engineering requirements while in community college, maximizing earned transfer credit at Mines and creating a pathway to complete any bachelor’s degree at Mines within two to three years of completing the associate degree.

Improving the experience for transfer students is also an important part of Mines’ strategic plans as the university approaches its 150th anniversary in 2024, said Gus Greivel, assistant dean of transfer student enrollment and articulation. “This degree maximizes the positive impacts for students wishing to transfer to Mines after studying at a community college,” he said. “We want to be a destination for all students wanting to pursue a rigorous STEM degree.”

The Mines Academy: A novel transfer pathway

Mines and Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) launched an innovative partnership in 2021 to support diverse nontraditional and traditional community college students’ pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at Mines. The Mines Academy at Red Rocks will provide qualified RRCC students with guaranteed admission into any four-year degree program at Mines upon completion of the two-year Associate of Engineering Science degree.

“The new Mines Academy at Red Rocks has been designed to improve the success of students transferring from Red Rocks to Mines. We want the Mines Academy student to be confident in their academic preparation, to know that their courses will transfer to Mines and to feel that they are members of the Mines community,” said Mines President Paul C. Johnson. “This is truly a novel transfer pathway model that will help to broaden the STEM professional pipeline and continue to grow our long-standing partnership with Red Rocks Community College.”

Students enrolled in the Mines Academy at Red Rocks will take high-quality math, science and engineering courses with small faculty-to-student ratios while also engaging early and often with Mines’ student success services. Academy students will also take a student success course taught by Mines to better introduce them to the campus and culture of Mines.

“Red Rocks already transfers more students to Mines than any other community college in the state, and through this new academy, that process will be even more integrated, student-centered and equitable,” said Mines Provost Richard C. Holz. “We are excited to enhance the long-standing relationship between our two institutions and hope this becomes the model for 2-year to 4-year pathways moving forward.”

The Mines Academy will enroll students beginning in spring 2022, with a start date of fall 2022. The two institutions also plan to leverage scholarships from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative to ensure that the Mines Academy is inclusive and affordable.