News Release Details

EAC-ASU partnership provides new model for bachelor’s degree completion in Arizona

Story Photo


EAC-ASU partnership provides new model for bachelor’s degree completion in Arizona


Thatcher, AZ—President Mark Bryce of Eastern Arizona College has been a long-time advocate for quality education programs for the communities of Eastern Arizona where his college serves the higher education needs for three counties—Graham, Greenlee, and Gila. Now he is bringing on-site bachelor’s degrees to Eastern Arizona College by entering into a new partnership with Arizona State University.

After six months of work on the details of the new partnership by senior staff and faculty at both institutions, President Michael Crow of ASU and President Bryce of EAC have signed an agreement that may provide a new and innovative model for bachelor’s degree completion throughout the state.

Students will be able to complete several bachelor’s degrees entirely on-site at EAC’s Thatcher campus, starting with two degrees in fall of 2012. Hospitals and healthcare facilities and local businesses will be particularly interested in this new development, as the first degrees to be launched will address their needs.

In the fall of 2013, two additional degrees that address needs for local school districts and the mines will be added.

Over time, students will have the option to complete their associate’s and bachelor’s degrees at EAC in nursing, business/organizational studies, elementary education, operations management, and more. All of these majors have been specifically targeted to address employment needs in Eastern Arizona.

There are a few details to be worked out before the partnership is formally launched, but college and university staff are moving forward with planning and are committed to this partnership. Paperwork has been submitted to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association requesting approval for ASU to offer these degrees at a new location, and it is a matter of weeks before they anticipate a positive response.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Board of Regents has already given approval for a reduced level of tuition whereby a full-time student would pay $5,550 for the 2012-2013 academic year, or $2,775 per semester—a significant savings.

ASU Vice Provost Maria Hesse was in Safford on Monday to discuss the new partnership at EAC’s annual high school counselor luncheon. Hesse, who is a former community college president, explained that the partnership really plays to the strengths of both institutions.

“EAC provides high quality college programs in beautiful facilities, with wonderful faculty,” said Hesse. “ASU will be working closely with their EAC colleagues to provide the remaining portion of the bachelor’s degree so that students end up with a PAC-12 university degree, which is highly marketable. And by sharing resources, we can offer the degree at a lower cost so we anticipate this new model will be appreciated by parents and community leaders.”

A partnership kick-off event is scheduled for February 2 in Thatcher at which Presidents Bryce and Crow will both speak.