University in U.P. establishes local satellite campus

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — There’s a new option in town for students who want to earn an undergraduate degree close to home.

Sault Ste. Marie-based Lake Superior State University on Wednesday announced plans to open a satellite campus in Dearborn this fall, and along with it an articulation agreement with Henry Ford Community College. The agreement will allow HFCC students to take up to three years of lower-tuition courses at the college before transferring for a final year of study at LSSU, HFCC President Gail Mee said.

The learning center will be at the LSSU-chartered Advanced Technology Academy, 4801 Oakman, housed in about 8,000 square feet of space leased from the academy.

University officials said the inaugural class would have between 75 and 100 students and programs would be centered on fields that have good job prospects. This year those courses will include business and criminal justice disciplines, and as early as next year could grow to include applied geographic information systems, computer networking and Web development.

The center is the third satellite campus for the 2,600-student LSSU and its first in the southeast Michigan market.

“LSSU is looking forward to being part of the Dearborn community,” said Bruce Harger, LSSU director of public school academy operations.

“We will offer the last year or two of practical programs that lead to areas of high demand employment. We’re concerned about the increasing cost of higher education. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to establish this partnership. It will allow us to offer an excellent-quality LSSU education to the residents of southeast Michigan.”

Mee agreed.

“All of these programs are going to be in high demand in the future,” she said. “We really are focused on providing students a pathway to a career.”

The idea of the partnership was born last winter when LSSU officials visited ATA and then met with HFCC brass, Mee said. Since it was chartered in 1999, ATA has had involvement with the college through programs like dual enrollment studies and enrichment courses, she said, adding that many ATA graduates have continued educational pursuits at the college.

“It seemed like a natural connection to make,” Mee said. “We have great respect for (LSSU) and their programs, and they really think highly of what we offer, so it has been a real easy relationship.”

The LSSU network of articulation agreements – essentially an agreement between high-learning institutions to transfer course credits – includes other area community colleges, said Eric Dubitsky, director of the new location.

He said the goal of the site was to provide a marketable bachelor’s degree at a value.

“The demand for higher education is higher than ever,” said Dubitsky, who has been working on the project for over a year. “We are trying to provide more people access to that at a big savings compared to other options.”