‘Accessibility and affordability’ at heart of partnership


JASPER — A partnership between Vincennes University Jasper Campus and Purdue University marks new collaboration between the two unlikely partners — and more are on the way.

Beginning with the fall 2018 semester, VUJC students can pursue an associate degree in agriculture by taking part in a direct admissions program to obtain a bachelor’s degree at Purdue.

The program follows a “1+1+2” format, where students spend their freshman year in Jasper, their sophomore year at the main Vincennes University campus in Vincennes, and their final two years of school at Purdue.

Though it marks the first time Vincennes University has expanded the Purdue partnership to the VUJC branch, the new agreement is just another piece of a decades-long partnership between VU and Purdue, and VUJC Dean Christian Blome said it will make it easier for Dubois County residents and other students in the region to pursue an agriculture degree locally.

“The real benefit for locals is that it just makes that Purdue degree that much more affordable,” Blome said. “It’s all about accessibility and affordability.”

VU and Purdue have teamed up for similar efforts in the past, offering “2+2” programs in various fields of study that lessen the cost of a degree and keep students closer to home in the earlier years of a baccalaureate degree.

According to Chuck Mansfield, a Purdue agronomist and VU adjunct professor who is housed at VU and acts as a liaison between the two schools, the long-standing agreement between Purdue’s College of Agriculture and VU has been in place since 1957.

The initial framework, he said, was that Purdue would send professors to Vincennes to teach basic agriculture classes, and after two years, students could transfer with their core classes completed.

Currently, the Vincennes campus offers a “2+2” program for direct admission into the Purdue engineering program, and Blome said the plan is to roll out another “1+1+2” program in the fall of 2019 at VUJC that will carry students through that engineering track as well.

Blome said the coursework in both the agriculture and engineering programs is difficult, even in the first year. He believes there’s a huge benefit to tackling those courses in a smaller class at VUJC. The local campus is also an open admission institution.

“It’s really, really been good for students,” Mansfield said of the schools’ partnership. “That of course is our goal at the end of the day. To serve the best interest of the students as best we can. And I think this is a really good program that does that.”

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