EMU Expands Community College Partnerships

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The Eastern Michigan University student center.

The Eastern Michigan University student center.

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University recently signed an articulation agreement with both Macomb and Monroe community colleges that allows students to complete an undergraduate degree in product design and development at EMU.

“The agreement ties in with each college’s technical program and encourages students who are working on a technical associate’s degree to earn a bachelor’s degree,” said Patricia Cygnar, director of EMU’s community college relations.

In what is called a 3 plus 1 agreement, students complete three years at the community college, earning an associate’s degree plus additional credit toward a bachelor’s degree. They then transfer to EMU for the final year.

“This agreement allows students to transfer up to 94 credit hours to EMU,” said Philip Rufe, program director, and assistant professor of product design and development at EMU. “ Our program prepares students for careers in the design and development of automotive, industrial and consumer products.”

Students benefit in two ways, according to Rufe. They save money by taking the majority of classes at the community college, and the simple system of transferring credits to Eastern helps them earn a bachelor’s degree in a competitive field.

Eastern’s program, which began in 2008 as a hybrid of industrial design and engineering technology, prepares students to take a product from concept through production.

Product designers are in demand for areas such as automotive, consumer goods, consumer electronics, aerospace, and furniture. EMU graduates are employed in industry as product designers, industrial designers, process engineers, product development engineers, quality engineers, and application engineers.

“If you are passionate about design and innovation, and want to work on product design teams using software and tools such as rapid prototyping, you will be prepared,” Rufe said.   Added Jim Carlson, head of product development at Macomb Community College: “This is a great opportunity for our product development students to further their design knowledge at a great institution such as Eastern Michigan. Our students can continue their academic goal seamlessly transferring all three years. I’m excited for our current and future students.”

Eastern Michigan has 116 articulation agreements with 19 different community colleges in Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina and Ontario. The majority of agreements are primarily with Washtenaw, Henry Ford, Schoolcraft, Monroe and Macomb community colleges.

For more information about the agreement or EMU’s program, call (734) 487-2040 or by e-mail at product.design@emich.edu

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