DECATUR – Students enrolled in East Central Community College's Culinary Arts Technology Program can look forward to a "seamless" transition in continuing their studies toward a bachelor's degree at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, thanks to a partnership announced today (Feb. 3) between the two colleges.
The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), signed by ECCC President Dr. Billy W. Stewart and MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig during a ceremony on the Decatur campus, provides educational opportunities for students in the Culinary Arts and related hospitality fields, which at ECCC includes Hotel and Restaurant Management Technology.
"Career and technical credits earned within the ECCC program will transfer to The W," said Scott Tollison, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies, in which culinary arts is administratively housed. "In addition, currently enrolled ECCC students will have access to The W's 'guest chefs' program that brings in leading culinary experts for demonstrations and there will be additional professional development activities for ECCC faculty members."
Regarding the partnership, Dr. Borsig said, "We value our growing relationship with our community college partners, and we're delighted today to partner with ECCC to strengthen the pathway for students in our state to earn a bachelor's degree. Our graduates have a record of success, and we are happy to provide access for ECCC students who want to continue their studies at the W."
Dr. Stewart responded, "The announcement of today's MOA between our college and Mississippi University for Women (MUW) is just one step in the fulfillment of our plan to design and implement coherent, structured educational pathways leading to certificate and/or degree completion as well as stackable credentials that enhance students' opportunities for career advancement and upward mobility."
He added, "Today's announcement serves as an example of the cooperation and collegiality among the state's community colleges and four-year universities. …Our students will be the major beneficiaries and that is the way it should be."
Added Dr. Teresa Houston, ECCC Vice President for Instruction, "This is an exciting opportunity for the students and faculty at East Central Community College to collaborate and expand their educational and professional capabilities. The clear pathways identified by this agreement will provide our students with a seamless transition that will foster their desire to complete a bachelor's degree."
Barry Karrh, now in his second year as ECCC's Culinary Arts Technology instructor, said he is "very pleased" the agreement is now in place after so much hard work between the two colleges. He added, "I look forward to sending my best and brightest students to MUW."
One such student is Chris Brown, a sophomore from Forest High School.
"I would like to thank you (EC and MUW) for providing me with this opportunity and I plan to use it to the best of my ability," Brown said. ECCC Culinary Arts Technology program began in 2008.
The W's Culinary Arts Institute is headed by Chef Erich Ogle. He and Karrh both hold bachelor's degrees from The W and master's degree from Le Cordon Bleu, the University of Adelaide.
"I'm very excited about the partnership between the Culinary Arts Institute and East Central Community College. I'm personally excited to be working again with my classmate Chef Barry Karrh. The W is thrilled to have this opportunity."
ECCC's Hotel and Restaurant Management program is led by instructor Lisa O'Neill. O'Neill holds a bachelor's degree in Hotel, Restaurant, Management and Tourism Management from the University of Southern Mississippi. She started the Hotel Restaurant Management Technology Program in 2005.
"I believe this agreement will allow an opportunity for all the ECCC Hospitality students to obtain more self-esteem in obtaining a higher degree, more job opportunities, as well as, better jobs just starting out of college, and more money earned during their entire career."
Nan Hartness of Louisville, a sophomore in the Hotel and Restaurant Management Technology program, said, "When I graduate from college, I plan on opening a restaurant. Now that my classes can transfer to Mississippi University for Women, I can enroll in the bachelor's degree program in Entrepreneurship. This degree will help me learn the business side of opening a restaurant. It will also allow me to have a broader range of career choices if I decide12 to do something other than open a restaurant."
Both Brown and Hartness are dually enrolled in the Culinary Arts Technology and Hotel and Restaurant Management Technology programs.
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