Carl Albert State College, Connors State College and Eastern Oklahoma State College announced today an academic partnership that will expand access and provide additional educational opportunities for students in southeast Oklahoma.
The CACE Consortium, which is an acronym for Carl Albert, Connors and Eastern, includes the three rural, two-year colleges in southeast Oklahoma. The three community colleges will partner to offer a wider variety of general education and major courses to students through faculty and course sharing.
The consortium was announced at a signing ceremony during a special meeting of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in Oklahoma City. The institutions’ presidents participated in the signing via a video feed into the Regents’ meeting.
Carl Albert State College President Dr. Jay Falkner praised the partnership as an innovative approach to help meet the needs of students in rural areas.
“This partnership is an important example of how institutions can work together to remove barriers to higher education and best serve the needs of all of our students and communities,” Falkner said. “Focusing our efforts on expanding access to additional courses will benefit all of our students. I am grateful for the cooperation and commitment shown by the academic leaders from all three institutions to make this partnership a reality.”
Per the agreement, each receiving college will provide the classroom space, technology and administrative oversight of advising and enrolling students. The sending site will provide the instruction. Each college will receive the tuition, fees and enrollment data from the students enrolled at their site.
Connors State College President Dr. Ron Ramming said the institutions will use both online courses and live courses taught with video conferencing software such as Zoom to teach students from all three institutions simultaneously.
“This collaborative effort will enable each institution to improve efficiencies by combining low enrollment courses and avoiding academic redundancies,” Ramming said. “Many institutions across the nation recognize the need to increase access and improve student learning while also reducing the costs to students and their families. This is a strategic effort to utilize the expertise of our talented faculty within each institution and continue to fulfill our mission of offering high quality, affordable degrees.”
Each institution will determine which courses will be sent or received between the colleges on a yearly basis. An equal number of courses will be taught and received for each institution.
Eastern Oklahoma State College President Dr. Janet Wansick said the agreement will begin in the fall 2021 semester and be reevaluated at the end of three years. She said the institutions are optimistic for a successful long-term partnership that will have a positive impact in southeast Oklahoma.
“We all agree that innovative collaborations are essential to economic growth. I believe this exciting partnership will use our collective strengths to better prepare our students for success and help meet the workforce needs of our state,” Wansick said. “We look forward to a long and successful partnership between Carl Albert, Connors State and Eastern.”