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Westfield State University and STCC announce urban studies 2+2+1 partnership

A newly signed agreement creates an affordable pathway for students who earn an associate degree in urban studies from Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) to pursue both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at Westfield State University.

In a ceremony on November 19, Westfield State President Ramon Torrecilha, Ph.D., and STCC President John B. Cook, Ph.D., signed an articulation agreement to formally connect the programs. Students will receive credit from Westfield State for program-related courses completed at STCC. They may apply those credits toward the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in sociology and regional planning, followed by a master’s degree in public administration.

“Westfield State’s collaboration with STCC to develop this agreement underscores our commitment to our mission to provide accessible and affordable degree options, and will help to develop a strong workforce in Western Massachusetts,” said Dr. Torrecilha, who explained that the new 2+2+1 will develop graduates equipped with the creative problem solving skills needed for the dynamic urban environments

“With appreciation to our talented faculty, it is exciting to now have an urban studies pathway with Westfield State University, which has a well-established program,” Dr. Cook said. “This collaboration will enable Western Massachusetts students to develop skills that will transform their communities.”

As part of the agreement, students who earn an associate degree in STCC’s two-year urban studies program can transfer to Westfield State. There, they can pursue a bachelor of science degree in regional planning (with urban focus) with a double major in sociology, which typically takes two years. In their fifth year, graduates can earn a Master of Public Administration degree from Westfield State, for a 2+2+1 track.

Richard Greco, dean for the School of Liberal and Professional Studies at STCC, said the urban studies curriculum prepares students for careers in areas such as civic engagement, municipal planning, public policy, community organization and nonprofit management.

 “The idea for urban studies grew out of the need to solve challenges within the city of Springfield such as socio-economic hardships and public health disparities,” Greco said. “Most of our students come from Springfield and stay here after graduation. This is an opportunity for them to help create positive changes in their community.”

Students will learn that the challenges facing urban cities like Springfield are not unique. “Cities like Springfield, Worcester and a number of other gateway cities that were once thriving hubs are starting to see a resurgence. This program has the ability to aid and help these cities bounce back,” Greco said.

The urban studies program at STCC exposes students to courses offered in different academic disciplines throughout the college, including architecture and building technology, public health, sociology, history, economics and literature. Students need to earn 62 credits to graduate from the program, which includes some online studies.

As part of the final project, students develop a proposed solution to a challenge facing the city of Springfield and present it to the community. “They will get a deep appreciation for what it’s like to get immersed in an urban revitalization project,” Greco said.

Emily Todd, Ph.D., interim dean of the Westfield State University College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, said “We aim to provide a close mentorship throughout each student’s education and experience at both institutions. Our collaborative team will provide support, guidance, and careful advising from the beginning of the student’s work through completion of the degree. Their experience will be enhanced by research and internship opportunities, with an emphasis on community-based initiatives.”

Photo caption: (L-R) Westfield State University Interim Dean, College of Graduate and Continuing Education Stefanie Sanchez, Ph.D.; WSU Interim Dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Emily Todd, Ph.D.; WSU President Ramon Torrecilha, Ph.D; STCC President Dr. John B. Cook; STCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Geraldine de Berly and STCC Dean, School of Liberal and Professional Studies Richard Greco participated in the signing of 2+2+1 articulation agreement in urban studies between the two institutions on November 19 in a ceremony at Westfield State University.

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