Michigan State University announced a new partnership with Lansing Community College called Envision Green in a news conference Wednesday morning.
MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said that MSU will work individually with LCC students in order to ensure a smooth transition by embedding MSU advisors within LCC to guide the students who want to transfer. According to a statement released by MSU, the data shows that more than 5,500 LCC students became Spartans over the last decade.
“This partnership provides an open, clear path for the journey from LCC to MSU that many students take each year,” Stanley said. “LCC is one of the top-rated community colleges in the nation, and they happen to be our neighbor. We are proud to collaborate with their team on promoting college access, affordability, and student success in the region.”
The Envision Green memorandum of understanding was created and with the signatures, will have an initial term of a one-year partnership with an option for renewal.
Students will work with both LCC and MSU advisers to create an academic plan that will ensure the courses they take at LCC will transfer directly toward their degree at MSU. This will cut down the cost for students and the accumulation of unnecessary credits at LCC.
The plan is to have two MSU academic advisors assigned to prospective LCC transfer students, one day each week. MSU will work with key academic units and integrative study centers to facilitate course credit transfers. MSU will also help LCC recruit students including those who are waitlisted or recessed from MSU, and together they will create a joint calendar of events for students continuing to share information and seek further ways to facilitate transfers.
"The relationship MSU has with LCC is of immense value to students and their families and to the region as a whole," Stanley said during the conference.
LCC President Steve Robinson said that the intent of this agreement is to make the transition from LCC to MSU as seamless as possible.
“Expanding our partnership with MSU allows us to continue to provide our students with the high-quality educational and life experiences they deserve,” Robinson said.
Robinson also said that "Envision Green is a win-win for students, for higher education, and our local region. Working together to build Lansing’s next generation and keep them here in the community is an important way to advance the Greater Lansing community."
MSU and LCC are working to formalize a journey that students have been taking for decades by making the details easier and more comprehensive. They’re working to remove barriers to student success and increase degree attainment in the region. This is done to improve the lives of students and create more equitable educational outcomes. According to Robinson, Envision Green will result in more Michigan students receiving the support and resources they need, as they progress toward a degree.
Lansing Community College Provost Sally Welch said that the construction of the memorandum of understanding and partnership that created the Envision Green program really focuses on the aspect of cost and access to a college education.
“We strongly believe that students that started at LCC and then transferred to MSU, not only received an excellent education from two outstanding institutions, they also have a better return on the educational investment,” Welch said.
In addition to saving money, Welch said there are some excellent reasons for students to start their education at Lansing Community College and transfer to MSU.
The goal of Envision Green is to make sure that students who need help are always taken to the person that can help them. Thus a warm handoff, the Envision Green program brings the resources directly to students, including direct access to MSU advisers and admissions counselors.
According to Welch, this allows students to explore and plan the necessary steps that are needed ahead of their transfer to MSU. Students are encouraged to think ahead to their ultimate graduation in their career.
MSU Provost Teresa Woodruff said that among MSU’s most fundamental tenets is the belief that every admitted student has the capacity to succeed and graduate.
“The Office of the Provost works to ensure that all MSU students receive that support needed to learn, persist and graduate in a timely fashion," Woodruff said. "That equity, inclusion, diversity and global competencies are integrated into all aspects of the undergraduate program, and that all students develop as lifelong learners with the capacity to effect positive change in Michigan and the world."
Special education junior Sarah Day who started at LCC before transferring to MSU discussed her journey during the conference. She believes that this program will help students make easier financial decisions and won’t set them back academically.
“Students will find it easier to graduate in four years without feeling overwhelmed in the process, which will only help the morale of the student body at MSU and LCC," Day said "Transfer students will come into MSU feeling prepared and ready to be a Spartan."
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Day said that this will make a huge difference to the transfer community here at MSU and LCC alike and will bring an amazing community to MSU, which will add to the student population in a positive way.
Stanley said they do not expect transfer students to live on-campus for the two required years since they have already had two years of college experience at LCC but are welcome to stay if they want to experience living at the MSU campus.
As for whether MSU is planning on opening this partnership to other local colleges, Stanley said that LCC and MSU have a very special relationship that they don’t want to lose. They also do want to give this opportunity to other students at other colleges so there is a possibility of developing something similar.
Robinson said that this could boost enrollment and the total number of students, but one of the important design factors of Envision Green is to create more equitable pathways for students.
"The Envision Green partnership comes at a really important time as we start to emerge from the pandemic because we're going to have to get a lot of students back on the path," Robinson said. "And many of them as we know our baccalaureate bound and are some of them a lot of them are interested in Michigan State."
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