New partnerships to help community college students earn Environmental Science degree at UArizona

Nov. 15, 2022

CALS hosts symposium to facilitate building official 2+2 programs with Arizona community colleges

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Arizona Community Colleges meet with Environmental science faculty to discuss 2+2 partnerships
Jake Kerr Community college representatives worked with CALS faculty in breakout sessions during the 2+2 symposium.

There are many paths to earning an Environmental Science degree at the University of Arizona, and transferring from a community college is one that is getting easier thanks to new 2+2 partnerships between College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and southern Arizona community colleges.  

The main idea behind the 2+2 programs, according to Dr. Scott Cowell, Environmental Science Assistant Professor of Practice, is to make sure community college students can begin their degree at local colleges and seamlessly transfer their credits into their chosen program at UArizona, without taking more time or classes than necessary.

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2+2 symposium event to discuss environmental science programs with community colleges, University of Arizona
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty started the symposium with presentations and general program discussions

“By partnering with community colleges in the state, we can align our goals and our curriculum to create the best possible programs for students,” Cowell said. “We need to work together and have direct communication so students aren’t guessing. They need to enter a community college knowing they can reach their goals of getting a UArizona degree within 4 years in most cases.”

Dr. Mike Strong, Residential Faculty at Glendale Community College, is one of several community college representatives working on 2+2 partnerships with CALS. Strong added that programs like this can also build a relationship between the student and both schools from the beginning of their academic career.

“This partnership is going to be a curated experience for the students,” Strong said. “It is not just a generic pathway, it is going to identify contact people beyond advisors and enrollment centers so there are additional resources and build a real relationship with UA before they make the transfer.”

To workshop ideas and strengthen connections, Cowell co-organized a symposium in September 2022, along with CALS Senior Coordinator of Recruitment and Outreach, Erin Englund, to bring stakeholders from interested community colleges and CALS departments together on University of Arizona’s campus.

The event gave everyone the opportunity to share their ideas on what ideal 2+2 partnerships would look like, what challenges they currently face, and to brainstorm solutions. Deans, vice presidents, and faculty from the community colleges attended, including Nathan Cline, a professor of biology at Eastern Arizona College.

“To align with UA’s program, we are changing our Environmental Technology program to Environmental Science and creating a soil science class to start in the spring,” Cline said about the impacts of the partnership and symposium. “Our VP of Academics attended the meeting and it put the 2+2 at the forefront of her thinking, which helped get the support we needed to get these changes done.”


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Dr. Rivka Fidel, Environmental science professor of practice, leads a breakout session
Dr. Rivka Fidel, Environmental Science professor of practice, leads breakout session with community college representatives at 2+2 symposium

Representatives from all 10 departments within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences attended the symposium. Dr. James Hunt, Associate Professor of Practice in the School of Human Ecology and Assistant Dean in CALS Career and Academic Services, attended and spoke at the event.

Hunt has worked on 2+2 programs since 2005, and recognizes the effect a degree from UArizona can have for students and their families.

“Education is an opportunity for economic change within families,” Hunt said. “As a Land-Grant Institution, we have a duty to serve this state and provide an education for as close to free as possible. Creating 2+2 programs can help achieve that goal and give more opportunity to students.”

While the process of building 2+2 program agreements between each CALS department and the community colleges is ongoing, it is clear everyone’s mission is focused on one thing — the student.

“I used to work at a community college and spent a lot of time with those students,” Cowell said. “Through all the hardships they face as non-traditional students, some with families and full-time jobs, the tenacity they have always inspired me. Now I can help them even more by helping to build these programs.”

As the 2+2 program is finalized, here you can find general information on how to transfer to University of Arizona and how your Arizona school’s credits may transfer.