SDSU Launches Innovative Agreement with Local Colleges to Increase Degree Access

Decorated mortarboardSouthwestern College students will be able to access and attain a San Diego State University degree without ever having to step foot on any SDSU campus.

As an initial pilot of the SDSU microsite model, SDSU will launch bachelor’s degree completion programs at Southwestern College and San Diego Mesa College in Business Administration and Criminal Justice, beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year.

The microsites are being introduced to specifically address student and regional educational needs in the contemporary age of lifelong learning. Primarily, the microsites are designed to provide valuable SDSU bachelor’s degree attainment options for local community college students along with academic and other support on nights and weekends.

“The lives and needs of students who want to attend SDSU are significantly different than we’ve seen in prior decades. Many of them work part-time or full-time. They need the flexibility that online or nights and weekend options provide. They also want to attend SDSU. This need compels us to become more innovative to meet the needs of our students, now and over a lifetime,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre.

“We are grateful for our partners at Southwestern and Mesa, who share in our commitment to ensure that qualified students — especially local students — have both degree access and the support needed to be successful,” de la Torre said.

Both agreements go to the respective boards of Southwestern and the San Diego Community College District for consideration in February 2020.

“San Diego State University is the public university of choice for many of our students, and with this new partnership our students will have the opportunity to earn a four-year degree on the Chula Vista campus,” said Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo. “SDSU will be an inaugural partner in our new University Center, opening the door to endless educational opportunities for our students.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with San Diego State University to provide new learning opportunities for students,” stated Mesa College President Pamela Luster. “The option to earn a Business Bachelor’s degree through SDSU while at Mesa offers the greatest flexibility for our students, especially our adult learners.”

Both community colleges are anticipating up to 60 students enrolled in each program for the fall 2020 launch of the pilot program.

Unlike programs that require students to transfer from their community colleges, students supported through the new agreements will remain at Southwestern and Mesa, taking all SDSU courses in online environments.

SDSU will oversee these program offerings provided by SDSU World Campus, which has a newly defined mission and vision. College of Extended Studies became SDSU World Campus in fall 2019, with a mission of making SDSU more accessible to students with a broader range of goals, needs, circumstances and locations.

“Our refocused division is taking SDSU beyond its campus boundaries toward extended access to academic programs in new and innovative ways to lifelong learners everywhere,” said Radhika Seshan, Dean of SDSU World Campus.

Students will have online access to all courses required for degree completion, and will receive advising and tutoring support, along with access to other resources and benefits.

“SDSU is excited to expand access to our academic offerings by partnering with our local community colleges,” said SDSU Chief Diversity Officer, J. Luke Wood. “This enables us to serve an increasingly diverse student population with programs that are specifically designed to meet their needs.”