Jamestown Community College and five partner State University of New York community colleges have created a new online learning initiative to facilitate student progress toward 34 different associate degree and certificate programs that can be completed entirely online.
In addition to JCC, charter partners in the new Online Western New York Learning Alliance are Corning Community College, Erie Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, Genesee Community College, and Monroe Community College.
"As community colleges, we are committed to providing access to higher education," said Marilyn A. Zagora, JCC's vice president and dean of academic affairs. "By offering five associate degrees and two certificate options online, JCC has helped many students remove the barriers of time and place. The OWL Alliance provides even greater access by helping students identify even more pathways and facilitating the interchange of credit experiences via the web."
A unique resource provided by the OWL Alliance is a "concierge" who offers online students extensive support and helps them establish and achieve their individual goals. Each member college has a trained, designated OWL concierge who handles the questions and concerns of online students by facilitating enrollment, advisement, and assisting with academic progress. Cori Dunagan, JCC's director of distance learning, serves as JCC's "concierge."
"Students access the OWL Alliance through the OWL website (www.owlwny.org) to explore courses or degrees which most efficiently fit their academic interests, needs, and schedules," Ms. Dunagan explained. "Students will be fully matriculated (enrolled) in only one of the six OWL colleges, but can take online courses from the entire OWL network, seamlessly transferring and earning credits among the partner colleges. Upon completion of required coursework, students earn a degree from their 'home' college."
Among the degrees and certificates students can pursue through the OWL Alliance are: business administration, business management, eCommerce, entrepreneurship, office management, sales and customer service, criminal justice, economic crime investigation, homeland security, computer information systems, GIS software application specialty, general studies, human services, physical education studies, sports and tourism studies, tourism management, teacher education and teacher assistant. Credits earned from OWL colleges may be transferred to upper-division SUNY institutions and other colleges and universities toward bachelor's degrees.
"This is fantastic news for Western New Yorkers seeking a college degree while also managing responsibilities at home and on the job," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "By making 100 percent of the required coursework available online, the OWL alliance makes a SUNY degree more accessible and attainable for many students, and contributes to degree completion, some of our primary objectives as providers of public higher education. Congratulations to each of the campuses involved in the OWL alliance."
For more information about the OWL Alliance, visit www.owlwny.org or call Ms. Dunagan at 338-1255.