November 28, 2014

Elyria
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LCCC to share programs across Ohio

Lorain County Community College has parlayed its participation in a 3-year-old state initiative on course-sharing across the state.

LCCC most recently is exporting two one-year certificate courses, medical assisting and supply chain management, to be offered this fall at Tolles Career and Technical Center in Plain City near Columbus.

LCCC President Roy Church told The Plain Dealer in an interview published Sunday that the college’s partnerships show the need is there for a college to offer proven and accredited programs to schools without them.

About 10 years ago the college began offering its nursing and respiratory programs at Bowling Green State University’s Firelands campus in Huron.

“The whole idea when we started this was if there was an unmet need in a geographic area, wouldn’t it be better to mobilize an existing program from another institution instead of starting from scratch and developing a new program,” he said.

LCCC also has provided health programs to Terra Community College in Fremont and helped Eastern Gateway Community College after it was established in Steubenville in October of 2009.

“We used our accreditation status and fully blown programs to respond to their immediate need,” Church said of Gateway.

Faculty are generally hired by the school using the LCCC curriculum and some classes are online, Church said.

In cases such as Gateway, courses are provided until the school can develop and gain accreditation for its own offerings, a process that takes about three years.

LCCC and its partner institutions sign an agreement and revenue is divided based on what each institution provides, he said. LCCC officials said they have not tracked that revenue.

Jeffrey Ortega, director of public affairs for the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, said LCCC is “really on the cutting edge.”

“The ability of institutions to share programs is a great thing, not only for the institutions but for the taxpayers,” he said. “It allows programs to be shared across the state as to where the demand is the greatest without the full expense of setting up additional programs.”

State lawmakers approved legislation that allows the chancellor of the Board of Regents to establish a Course and Program Sharing Network among two- and four-year colleges and adult career centers.

The program was championed by then-Chancellor Eric Fingerhut, who thought sharing programs would save time and money and avoid duplication.

Regents spokesman Jeff Robinson said Tony Landis, director of college and career transitions, told him LCCC is the only college currently operating Program Share based on the original model.

“Things are still in the discussion stages with Program Share going forward, and there is no set timeline for determining how it will be used in the future,” Robinson wrote in an email.