In June 2015, Craven Community College (Craven CC) signed an articulation agreement with North Carolina Wesleyan College (NC Wesleyan). This university partnership allows Craven CC students with an associate’s degree automatic admission into NC Wesleyan’s ASPIRE accelerated bachelor’s degree program.
On April 29, 2017, the first group of NC Wesleyan students graduated at the college’s Rocky Mount campus. “I’m extremely proud of them. I felt like I was graduating with them,” said Tina Cliffe, NC Wesleyan admissions and advising coordinator.
“It is thrilling to see these students graduate from such a wonderful collaboration with NC Wesleyan that provides opportunity for our students to continue their education and pursue their baccalaureate education on our campuses,” said Kathleen Gallman, Craven CC vice president for instruction.
Amber Nugent is a wife and stay-at-home mom to two daughters. “I wanted to be a mom when I was a kid,” Nugent said. She decide to pursue a degree and a career for herself and as an example for her daughters to follow. She graduated from Craven CC in 2015 with an associates in arts degree and immediately continued her education in organizational administration with NC Wesleyan.
Nugent completed her bachelors in eight months and graduated with honors. “I’m currently looking to start my career and find a business that I can share what I learned in college. I hope that with the acquired knowledge from Craven and Wesleyan that I can accomplish that goal as well,” said Nugent.
NC Wesleyan’s ASPIRE program offers several degrees where students can take classes on Craven CC campuses and/or online. Students can transfer into a bachelor of arts or science degree program with majors in accounting, business administration, computer information systems, criminal justice, marketing, organizational administration, and psychology.
NC Wesleyan admits students year-round. Classes start every eight weeks. Students can complete their bachelor’s degree in 18-24 months according to Cliffe. She said the program is for any student, but is convenient for working adults.
Another organizational administration graduate, Jennifer Fox, is the assistant registrar at Carteret Community College. She said the program was military friendly, had seated classes and the program she was looking for. She said some of her co-workers are now enrolled at NC Wesleyan.
Cliffe said the ASPIRE program is intentionally set up for a smooth transition. “The application is free and the admissions process is simple,” said Cliffe. She said there is a discounted tuition rate for community college students. She said there are currently 60 active students.
Two other students who returned to college as accomplished adults were Ashley Parker and Tina Cloud. Parker is 38 years old, married with three children with the youngest at 21 years of age. Parker advises others to consider pursuing a college degree. “People may think they cannot do it. It is not as bad as you think,” said Parker. Cloud who is a grandmother of nine said of her accomplishment, “I want to motivate women, younger and older, to have a better life.”
Deborah Kania is the director of communications at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in New Bern Sun Journal.