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PCC, East Carolina Sign Agreement that Creates Pathway for Engineering Students

Several of the administrators and faculty who played key roles in creating an agreement between PCC and ECU regarding transfer of engineering students pose for a group photo. From left to right, they are: Dr. Pamela Hilbert (PCC Vice President of Academic Affairs), Dr. Hayden Griffin (ECU Professor and Chair of Engineering); Dr. David White (ECU Dean of the College of Technology and Computer Science), Dr. Marilyn Sheerer (ECU Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor), Dr. G. Dennis Massey (PCC President), Dr. Paul Kauffmann (ECU Engineering Professor) and Dr. Stephanie Rook (PCC Dean of Arts and Sciences).

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College and East Carolina University have signed an agreement that creates a pathway for the college’s pre-engineering transfer students to move on to the university and complete a four-year engineering degree.

The articulation was signed Thursday at PCC, during a special ceremony attended by administrators and faculty who played key roles in creating the pact.

Through the agreement, PCC students who complete the Pre-Engineering Associate in Science degree—or accrue enough hours in the curriculum—can transfer into ECU’s Department of Engineering for the continuation and completion of their engineering studies. Graduates from ECU’s program will be awarded a Bachelor of Science in one of the following concentrations: Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Bioprocess Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.

PCC President G. Dennis Massey said the PCC-ECU articulation deals with an area of college transfer not well covered by the statewide Comprehensive Articulation Agreement regarding transfer between the North Carolina Community Colleges and the University of North Carolina System.

“It was extremely important to us and to our students to build upon a long relationship with ECU’s College of Technology and Computer Science,” Massey said Thursday. “… PCC understands and values college transfer. It’s a very productive relationship, and we welcome more partnerships with other departments at ECU.”

Calling the PCC-ECU engineering agreement a “milestone,” ECU Engineering Professor Paul Kauffmann said the articulation would benefit students educationally and professionally. He called the partnership “a pathway for people to pursue a better career and better life.”

Dr. Marilyn Sheerer, ECU Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, agreed and said it was important for Eastern North Carolina that PCC and ECU “grow engineers together.” Like Massey, she said the time had come to look more closely at other possible opportunities for the two schools to work together.

PCC launched its Pre-Engineering Associate in Science curriculum at the start of the  Fall 2009 Semester to give students an opportunity to complete the first two years of an engineering degree in a more personal setting and at a lower cost before transferring to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree.

One graduate of PCC’s program, Ash Smith, was featured in the college’s Career Focus magazine earlier this year. Smith received a degree from Pitt in 2010 and moved on to ECU in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

An excellent student at PCC, Smith has continued to achieve academic success at ECU. He says Pitt prepared him “very well” for his ECU coursework, noting that he has already received a pair of certificates from East Carolina’s engineering and physics departments in recognition of his Honor Roll status at the university.

Wanda Yuhas, executive director of the Pitt County Development Commission, attended Thursday’s signing ceremony and said producing future engineers like Smith would help the region attract new industry. She said the PCC-ECU engineering articulation would be an important selling point for the Pitt County area, adding that it would create wealth not only for future engineering graduates but for the community, in general.