NORFOLK, NE – Thanks to an innovative partnership forged close to five years ago, Northeast Nebraska residents have had the opportunity to take additional college-level courses through an articulation agreement between Northeast Community College and Bellevue University. The presidents of the two institutions renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently on Northeast’s campus in Norfolk.
The renewal agreement, which went into effect July 1, 2018, will allow Bellevue University to continue to offer upper-level undergraduate and graduate level courses and programs for constituents in the Northeast Community College service area with a primary focus on non-traditional working adults.
Over the last five years, nearly 250 Northeast graduates have transferred their Northeast credits to Bellevue University in order to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Between the academic years 2011-12 and 2016-17, nearly 75 percent of Northeast graduates enrolled at Bellevue University have graduated.
“We are pleased to continue to offer these educational opportunities for residents in our 20-county service area,” said Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president. “Our partnership with Bellevue University allows our constituents to align their associate degrees with bachelor’s and master’s degree programs while continuing to live and work in rural Northeast Nebraska. Bellevue offers several programs as well as different methods for completing the coursework, which appeals to many sectors of our students and general public. We are proud to strengthen our partnership with Bellevue University and to assist our constituents in achieving their educational goals.”
Dr. Mary Hawkins, president of Bellevue University, is looking forward to the continued partnership with Northeast Community College.
“The Bellevue University and Northeast Community College partnership is a prime example of education that works from a collaborative model.”
“By leveraging both institution’s strengths, we can continue to benefit people in the Northeast service area, as well as the higher education institutions that work so hard to serve them,” she said. “Dr. Chipps and I believe in partnerships and I am certain this collaboration will also continue to benefit business and industry in Northeast’s service area who are seeking a skilled and prepared workforce.”
Under terms of the MOU, Bellevue University will continue to offer Northeast associate degree holders a transfer option that allows them to complete bachelor’s or master’s degrees while remaining in their rural communities.
Students have the option of enrolling in residential undergraduate business classes offered in the Northeast service area or enrolling in online courses in more than 50 undergraduate degree programs and 20 graduate degree programs.
Bellevue University will also continue to have a full-time relationship manager on the Norfolk campus of Northeast Community College and also serve Northeast’s extended campus in O’Neill. The relationship manager is responsible for coordinating and building programming to serve Northeast students.
Bellevue University programs and services will continue to be available at Northeast’s Extended Campus in West Point. In turn, Northeast Community College will continue to provide lecture, laboratory, and distance learning classroom space for Bellevue University’s upper level undergraduate and graduate credit courses.
“The partnership we have with Bellevue University is a wonderful opportunity for not just Northeast Community College, but for all of the people we serve,” Chipps said. “This collaborative venture clearly illustrates how partnerships should perform as Northeast and Bellevue work collaboratively, combining our resources and expanding the opportunities for people in Northeast Nebraska to pursue higher education at an affordable price and at convenient locations.”
John Blaylock, executive vice president at Northeast Community College, said Bellevue University understands and meets the needs of students who attend a community college.
“We have seen how this partnership has allowed working adults to complete a bachelor’s degree across our entire Northeast 20 county service area,” he said.
One such student who has benefited is Dana Kerkman. Kerkman earned an associate’s degree from Northeast Community College in 2016 and went on to complete her bachelor’s degree from Bellevue University, graduating in the spring of 2018.
“Bellevue (University) was the perfect fit for me,” said Kerkman, who is continuing her education with the end goal of becoming a behavioral health nurse.
Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast Community College, and Dr. Mary Hawkins, president of Bellevue University, share a laugh as the two are about a sign a renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions. The MOU, originally signed in 2014, allows Bellevue University to continue to offer upper-level undergraduate and graduate level courses and programs for constituents in the Northeast service area with a primary focus on non-traditional working adults.