By Travis Taylor
Some students are spending time on two different campuses this semester as part of The Baylor@MCC Program, a co-enrollment initiative that was implemented this fall.
The program, which allows students who were wait-listed at Baylor the opportunity to attend both Baylor and McLennan Community College, currently has more than 45 students enrolled and expects to grow in the next few years.
Dr. Elizabeth Palacios, dean for student development and a member of the Baylor@MCC task force, said the program is a success so far.
“Quite frankly, they’re doing great,” Palacios said.
Palacios said the program is one of the biggest things Baylor and MCC have collaborated on, and it is ultimately the students who are benefiting from the program.
“It’s when we start centering on students; not that they are TSTC students or MCC students or Baylor students, it’s that they are students,” Palacios said.
Palacios said she believed the cooperation between schools that has resulted from this program is the best she’s seen in 30 years.
Brittany Ladd, a Denton freshman who is enrolled in the Baylor@MCC program, said while going to school on two different campuses can be difficult, students from the program have banded together to help each other out.
“Thankfully, everyone got together and the people who had cars offered to carpool,” Ladd said.
Ladd said the program offers her the chance to experience more of Waco.
“It’s a good opportunity to step outside the Baylor Bubble and see parts of Waco outside the campus,” Ladd said.
Ladd added that the faculty and staff on both campuses have done a good job working with students in the program.
Dr. Fred Hills, dean of arts and sciences at MCC and another member of the task force, said the program offers a number of advantages for MCC, including providing a transition point for MCC students who want to transfer to Baylor, as well as allowing more cooperation between the two campuses.
“From our perspective, it opens up doors to our big neighbor down the river,” Hills said.
Hills added the program gives students a more cost-effective way to receive a Baylor education.
The program was implemented this semester by a task force that included administrators and faculty from Baylor and MCC.
The Baylor@MCC task force, which handled the logistics of the program such as sharing records between the two schools, coordinating financial aid and advising, and planning for transportation and housing, began meeting in 2010.
In October 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding between Baylor and MCC was signed by the two school presidents, Ken Starr and Johnette McKown. The memorandum stated that the program would remain in effect until August 2016.
Students of the program are housed in the Kokernot and Martin residence halls on Baylor’s campus, and attend Baylor classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and MCC classes on Tuesday and Thursday.
Lauren Kim, a Riverside, Calif. freshman who is enrolled in the program, said experiencing two schools first would make it easier when she becomes a full-time Baylor student.
“If I’m able to navigate two campuses, two libraries, and two professors, then I’ll be able to do it here,” Kim said.
Kim added that MCC and Baylor offered two different perspectives on college life.
Dr. Donald Balmos, vice president of instruction at MCC and a member of the task force, said the program is helping to diversify MCC, which draws the majority of its students from the local area.
“The more students we bring in from a variety of backgrounds, the more diversity you have and a better learning environment is created,” Balmos said.
While the Baylor@MCC program is unique to Baylor in that it brings together a two-year state institution with a four-year private university, Balmos said this type of program is not new. It is similar to the Texas A&M Blinn Transfer Enrollment at A&M which is a program that allows for co-enrollment at Texas A&M University and Blinn College in Brenham.
The University of Texas also runs a similar program in conjunction with Austin Community College.
“We’ve had people on both sides who were willing to think outside the box,” Diana Ramey, associate vice president of enrollment management at Baylor, said.