Students can earn bachelor’s degrees from Northeastern on STCC campus
A new educational and workforce development partnership between Springfield Technical Community College and Northeastern University creates an opportunity for current STCC students, graduates and the general public to earn bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering technology and advanced manufacturing systems onsite at STCC.
In a ceremony on Nov. 1 at STCC, leaders from both institutions officially signed a memorandum of understanding to mark this partnership.
In the planning stages for over a year, the agreement with STCC marks the first time Northeastern has partnered with a community college to offer bachelor’s degrees on site.
“Our engineering and manufacturing programs continue to be a signature of STCC, and we are very pleased to collaborate with Northeastern to deepen and enhance workforce efforts for Western Massachusetts,” said Dr. John B. Cook, president of STCC.
“We’re pleased to partner with Springfield Technical Community College as it expands opportunities for students,” said Dr. Mary Loeffelholz, dean, Northeastern University College of Professional Studies. “Both of our institutions value experiential learning and industry-aligned degrees to prepare students for career and life success.”
Students may choose either a pathway to a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering technology or in advanced manufacturing systems from Northeastern to be completed online and at STCC. Both degrees are part of the Lowell Institute School at Northeastern, which offers 15 bachelor’s degree programs, 10 of which are available completely online.
“This partnership with STCC is in keeping with the mission and tradition of the Lowell Institute School which began when A. Lawrence Lowell created the Lowell Institute School for Industrial Foremen in 1903,” said Dr. Kemi Jona, founding director of the Lowell Institute School and associate dean of undergraduate programs. “The goal then was to bring essential knowledge and opportunity to the people doing the work driving the economy of the new century. Today, the Lowell Institute School is still committed to this goal, reaching students in new ways and places.”
The agreement maximizes convenience and cost-effectiveness for STCC graduates who wish to obtain bachelor’s degrees in the two programs, said Dr. Adrienne Smith, dean of the School of Engineering Technologies & Mathematics at STCC.
Smith said most STCC students have families in the area and would prefer to get their bachelor’s degrees in the Springfield area. In addition to some online courses, classes will take place in the evening and possibly Saturdays, a benefit for the many students who work full time during the day, she said.
“This is a great opportunity for our students,” Smith said. “Rather than traveling to Boston, they can come to our campus in the evening for classes. They are already familiar with our institution. They are familiar with our classrooms and labs. It will be like coming home to get their bachelor’s degree.”
Northeastern faculty and some of STCC’s mechanical engineering technology and engineering science faculty will teach the classes at Springfield Technology Park, across the street from the STCC campus, beginning in January.
“The College of Professional Studies offers scholarships that our students can apply for and possibly receive to pay their tuition to Northeastern,” Smith said.
Additional sources of funding include tuition reimbursement by employers and scholarships targeted to military service members and their families, both with the potential to significantly offset educational costs.
“Not only are the faculty and staff excited about the opportunity, but there’s been a lot of student interest,” Smith said. “They’ve been speaking to the faculty members. They’re excited to stay right here and get a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University. That’s huge.”
One of the STCC students who hopes to take advantage of the program is Michael Grillo of West Springfield.
Grillo highlighted the cost-savings of getting a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern without having to leave Western Massachusetts. He was excited about being able to work during the day while enrolled in the program.
“This makes it a lot easier for students who are working,” Grillo said. “I’m going to college and trying to hold a job. I like that the classes will be at night.”