|UND, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona to establish "Bridge Program"|
The University of North Dakota and the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona (CPP), Calif., will sign a memorandum of understanding Friday, Feb. 27, during a signing ceremony at the California school. The memorandum states that the two schools agree to form a partnership that will allow senior level CPP undergraduate students to gain advanced standing in master’s degree programs at UND.
Under this agreement, CPP will accept a minimum of three quarter credits and maximum of nine quarter credits (equivalent to six UND semester credits) of UND Graduate School course work as applicable towards the appropriate CPP degree for students accepted into the "Bridge Program" and assist UND in identifying highly qualified undergraduate students for the Bridge program. UND will admit Bridge students who have successfully completed their CPP baccalaureate degree program to the appropriate master’s program, deliver Bridge program courses using UND’s distance technologies, and accept these courses as fulfilling some of the student’s requirements toward the associated bridge program master’s degree. The first programs that will take advantage of this agreement are the two schools' chemical engineering degree programs.
Joseph Benoit, dean of the Graduate School, said, “We’re excited to be partnering with Cal Poly Pomona on this innovative program. This new agreement will provide opportunities for Cal Poly students to get an early start on their master’s degrees. Many California students don’t think of North Dakota when they consider graduate school. Yet our strengths in areas of sustainable energy make UND a top choice for students who are looking to be on the cutting edge of research that will address one of our country’s most pressing issues. We look forward to the possibility of other partnerships that address areas of national importance.”
This chemical engineering agreement is part of the UND-California nondoctoral student program, an outreach program conceived by Wayne Seames, professor of chemical engineering at UND and the director of the North Dakota Sustainable Energy Research Initiative and Supporting Education group (SUNRISE) and Winny Dong, chair of CPP's chemical and materials engineering program. In addition to the Bridge program, this collaboration includes joint research projects and participation of CPP undergraduates in UND summer research experiences.
“What struck me on my first visit to CPP was the similarity in educational cultures and priorities between our two departments," said Seames. “We both have very collaborative, flexible faculty who are passionate about teaching, both in formal setting and through experiential learning settings like research.”
“CPP students are very concerned about our ability to provide for future energy needs without adverse impacts on the environment," said Dong. “The SUNRISE research in renewable fuels and the sustainable use of coal is very exciting and attractive to our students. Many of them had not considered the possibility of graduate school until we established this program. We have had a strong interest from our students here at CPP.”