Stepping up in Oakland County

Mar 4, 2004

A new strategic partnership agreement pairs Kettering with Oakland Community College.

Oakland Community College (OCC) and Kettering signed a strategic partnership agreement Friday, March 5. Under the agreement, students can complete their first two years of study at OCC with extra counseling and support services, then transfer to Kettering in Flint to finish their bachelor's degree through the university's innovative combination of classes and professional co-op work experience at companies throughout the world.

Officials from the two schools gathered in OCC's Advanced Technology Center on the Auburn Hills campus for a signing ceremony intended to strengthen their established working relationship by offering improved career information, intensive counseling and mentoring to smooth the transition for OCC students transferring to Kettering.

"We at Kettering University are very enthusiastic about this strategic partnership agreement with Oakland Community College," University President James E.A. John said. "By making the transition from community college to the university as seamless as possible, we hope to encourage more outstanding students from Oakland Community College to pursue our programs at Kettering. With our co-op system of education, Kettering offers excellent opportunities for our students, providing work experience with our hundreds of co-op student employers. Many of these employers are located in Oakland County. Working together, OCC and Kettering can provide tomorrow's talent and leadership for business and industry throughout Southeastern Michigan and the world."

Oakland Community College is Kettering's second largest feeder school of transfer students. Kettering currently has 18 students who transferred from OCC on campus. OCC serves 70,000 students a year and is the state's largest community college system.

Oakland Community College Chancellor Mary S. Spangler said that this collaborative relationship strengthens the ability to transfer students and share technologies with Automation Alley employers. "This strategic partnership is about two great educational institutions working together to make sure students achieve their goals and employers remain competitive through a highly educated and adaptive workforce," Spangler said. OCC currently has 18 of its former students enrolled in Kettering University programs. Since 1999, 39 former OCC students have graduated from Kettering University.

"The ultimate goal," said Bob Nichols, vice president of Corporate Relations and Enrollment Services at Kettering, "is for OCC and Kettering to collaborate in developing more technical talent in Southeastern Michigan to help businesses become more competitive on a global stage."

Two former OCC students, Stephanie Cole and Gregory Woodside, who are currently enrolled at Kettering University, attended the signing ceremony to talk about their experiences at both OCC and Kettering. Cole is a graduate of Lake Orion High School and Woodside graduated from Troy High School. Both attended the Auburn Hills campus of OCC. Cole is an Industrial Engineering major, who co-ops with General Motors, Manufacturing and Supply Operations, in Warren. She is the vice president of the campus Society of Women in Engineering. Woodside is completing his senior thesis as a Mechanical Engineering major with American Axle World Headquarters in Detroit.

The agreement calls for joint academic advising, access to courses to maximize student success and the smooth transition of students from one institution to the other, including early identification and referral of interested students. Program components include:

  • career awareness forums,
  • coordination and enhancement of transfer advising,
  • mentoring,
  • increased opportunities for cooperative education assignments, and
  • scholarship development.

Future endeavors at the two schools may include the development of a Kettering Graduate Center at Oakland Community College, joint outreach to companies, community agencies and organizations and solicitation of Kettering alumni for scholarship and co-op support. Faculty collaboration in instructional development, research and professional growth opportunities is also envisioned.

Oakland Community College Established in 1964, Oakland Community College is the largest community college in Michigan and provides more than 70,000 students a year with opportunities to earn associate degrees and certificates as well as the opportunity for seamless transfer to four-year institutions. OCC's five campuses are located in Auburn Hills, Farmington Hills, Royal Oak, Southfield and Waterford. For more on Oakland Community College, visit: www.oaklandcc.edu.