The link between technology and human services is much more logical and natural than it may sound.
In the modern world, it’s more essential, too. That was Springfield Technical Community College John Cook’s message as his school entered into two new agreements with Bay Path University of Longmeadow. They will create affordable pathways and easy transfers from the STCC programs toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Bay Path.
“No longer is there a single technology sector of industry. Every industry is a tech sector, and every sector has a human element, too,” Cook said.
Under one agreement signed Wednesday at STCC, female students who earn an associate’s degree in liberal arts/general studies (applied psychology option) can pursue a Bay Path bachelor of arts in psychology.
Under the second, students with a liberal arts transfer (human services/social work option) associate’s degree can transfer toward the psychology degree.
The new transfer agreements recognize that technology and human services, which were once viewed as disparate, conflicting or even rival entities within most industries, now intersect regularly and share places of importance in almost every field. The two schools have maintained a partnership for more than a decade, according to Geraldine de Berly, STCC vice-president of academic affairs.
Bay Path Provost Melissa Morriss-Olson said the relationship works because, regardless of outward appearances that the schools respond to different academic disciplines, they share a common mission.
“We both share a commitment to support our students toward their success and completion. We both put students at the center of everything we do,” Morriss-Olson said during the signing ceremony in the Springfield Technical library reading room.
Facilitating a smooth transition for women with STCC associate degrees to Bay Path recognizes the value of knowledge and skills in both technology and human service, according to Richard Greco, the STCC dean of liberal and professional studies.
The junior college turns out students with understanding in areas such as pharmacology, health care and basic first aid. Greco said such knowledge is valuable for effectively practicing applied psychology in social work or related fields.
Cook said that in addition to providing more incentive to begin the path to a four-year degree through junior college, the combination of these skills is of personal interest to him.
“If I were not in higher education, I’d be in the human service field. People sometimes think we are only a technology institution, but here, (the two schools) are putting our heads, and our humanity, together toward a psychology degree for students,” he said.
Morris-Olson said Bay Path welcomes more than 100 STCC graduates each year. She predicted the partnership would expand in the future.
“We find the transfer students (from STCC) are well-prepared, serious students who have maturity and want to do well,” she said. “I understand there are more transfer agreements in the works. We’ll be excited to come back (to STCC) and do more.”
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