Courier Staff Writer
It can be easier to learn advanced math in a class with 25 students than in a 300-student lecture hall. It’s cheaper, too.
This week, officials from Indian Hills Community College and the University of Iowa agreed to an articulation agreement for an engineering program. That’s not available at every community college — or every four-year college.
“Students that transfer in from two- or four-year schools will have issues with transferring credits. Engineering schools are very precise about what they want and need in their curriculum,” said IHCC President Jim Lindenmayer.
Indian Hills has math classes, for example, that fit what U of I demands out of engineering students.
“A program like engineering, they’re pretty specific about what competencies they’re looking for in their students. Having an articulation agreement helps ensure a smooth transfer for our students,” Lindenmayer said.
Indian Hills does have articulation agreements for other programs, but the engineering program at U of I was more demanding than most schools they’ve signed contracts with.
There are other benefits for southeast Iowa students, he added.
“Students that matriculate through the community college classes find the classes are more accessible,” said Lindenmayer. “The class size is smaller at a community college, which can make it easier for some students to pick up math, for example, when there are 25 students [to an] instructor rather than 300.”
Students who have family or work obligations in southeast Iowa also benefit from getting the first part of their engineering education taken care of at the local level.
Finally, it costs less to attend community college, too, he said, which can be a factor in choosing to get some classes out of the way before heading to Iowa City.
But what about another prestigious engineering program in Iowa?
“It’s a timely question, because the community college presidents are meeting with Iowa State [University]’s president on Tuesday about furthering cooperation,” said Lindenmayer, “so we’ll see what comes out of that.”
Beginning in the fall of 2013, students can begin working toward a bachelor’s degree in engineering at IHCC. Upon the completion of the 1 1/2 year curriculum, students will be able to transfer to the U of I as a second-semester sophomore.
“There is a [demand] for engineers. We’ve had a generation of people less interested in math and science. Yet engineering is where innovation comes from. This is a further opportunity for people to get into that field,” Lindenmayer said.