STARKVILLE and GAUTIER — Mississippi State University and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College haze signed a partnership agreement to bring engineering courses to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum and MGCCC President Mary S. Graham said they believe engineering programs offered at MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus in Gautier will enhance the economic and industrial development of the region.
The agreement outlines the collaboration to offer two degree programs, and the institutions will jointly recruit students. Keenum said that four programs are being considered: electrical engineering, civil engineering, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering. The two selections will be finalized in the near future.
“The quality of the degree programs offered at MGCCC will be identical to those we offer in Starkville,” Keenum said. He said while students complete their first two years at MGCCC, their last two years taught by MSU also will take place via face-to-face instruction at the same Gulf Coast location, in addition to distance learning methods.
“This agreement, which is part of our continuing focus on offering educational opportunities in high-paying, in-demand STEM fields, provides an outstanding opportunity for both our students and local industries as more and more well-trained graduates in these key areas provide a pool of potential employees for South Mississippi companies,” Graham said.
Keenum said they expect the first degree program to be in place as soon as fall of 2015.
New course offerings will be at the Jackson County Campus’s STEM Building, which is currently undergoing expansion to house additional classrooms and state-of-the-art updates that will include collaborative labs and areas for various science and technology projects.
Designed to aid in a seamless transition from the community colleges to MSU, two-plus-two programs place students on the road to a bachelor’s degree while completing their first two years of a course of study at a community college. They may transfer their courses for university credit.