Central, SFCC Partner for AT Degree

AT.jpgOfficials from Central Methodist University and State Fair Community College will soon put ink to paper on a unique agreement that gives students an easier path to accomplish their goals. On Friday, February 4, the two schools will complete an agreement to finalize the creation of a Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) 2+1+2 articulation program.

The program will be a reimagined version of the 3+2 MSAT program currently offered to Fayette campus CMU students, according to Dr. Wade Welton, director of the athletic training program. The new transfer program will allow SFCC students to transfer into Central seamlessly and complete the degree in the same number of years as their Fayette counterparts.

“Typically, transfer students without the necessary prerequisites have a hard time entering into the athletic training program and staying on track,” said Welton. “This agreement will help SFCC transfer students enter the program on the right path.”

The master’s degree program is essentially a two-year program with two paths to degree completion, the quickest and most efficient being the 3+2, in which students take general education and exercise science courses in their first three years and then apply for the master’s program at the end of the third year. If accepted, their fourth year at Central becomes the first of the master’s program while also finishing the exercise science bachelor’s degree. After the fifth year, they will have completed the master’s degree in athletic training as well.

For students on the new 2+1+2 path, the results are similar. Students will spend two years at SFCC taking general education and additional physical education courses. After transferring to Central, they will take more of the required courses and then apply for the master’s degree program.

The agreement between the schools is a long time coming, according to Welton, who worked closely with SFCC athletic director and physical education department chair Darren Pannier – a 1991 graduate of Central – to get the project off the ground.

“We’re excited about the agreement. I think it can open up doors for students and that’s the most important thing,” Welton said. “The biggest advantage with this is that students can seamlessly transfer from State Fair to here with a plan. If they can stay on that track, it’s a quality program and cost effective.”

Aside from the advantages for students, the agreement promises to have a positive impact on both institutions, according to Pannier.

“I do believe it’ll be a huge factor and a win-win situation for both parties,” he said. “I’m a true alum for Central Methodist University and I’m trying to push as many students as I can to that institution. . . And as we keep building athletic programs [at SFCC], we’re needing more and more athletic training assistants, and this program is going to definitely help out.

“It’s been a long time coming, and I’m just glad it’s happening before I retire,” Pannier concluded.

A signing ceremony for the agreement, followed by a press conference, will take place at 10 a.m., Friday, February 4 on the State Fair campus. School officials on-site for the signing will include CMU Vice President for Enrollment Management Joe Parisi, Provost Rita Gulstad, and Dean Deborah DeGan-Dixon, as well as SFCC President Joanna Anderson, Vice President Brent Bates, Dean James Cunningham, and Pannier.

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