Component C: The organization demonstrates its responsiveness to those constituencies who depend on it for service.

The North Dakota University System encourages collaboration among its member colleges and universities, and has developed policies and procedures to make these collaborations seamless for students and convenient for office efficiencies. These system-wide measures have encouraged a number of articulations and collaborative agreements between campuses in the state.
Transfer Agreements and Collaborative Enrollment
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education adopted the "General Education Requirement Transfer Agreement" (GERTA) in 1994, an agreement which helps students transfer easily between institutions in the North Dakota University System. This agreement established common courses at the 100 and 200 level that are accepted by academic discipline groups and are transferable to other campuses as equivalent general education courses. By knowing what general education classes and credits will transfer, students can better plan and make use of their time and money. SBHE Policy 403.7 additionally provides for "block transfer" of the completed general education program from one campus to another within the NDUS, and authorizes the NDUS to articulate transfer of general education courses as a completed unit with institutions outside the System. The NDUS has complete general education transfer articulations with university systems in seven states: Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Washington, California, Oregon, and Wyoming (NDUS Procedures 402.4.1-402.4.7). Collaborative student enrollment is directed by NDUS Procedure 404, which establishes the enrollment process, billing procedure, and removes the need for students already enrolled in one NDUS campus to complete the admission process at the host campus. This arrangement allows students seamless access to courses across the System. These NDSU policies and procedures have simplified and encouraged collaboration and articulation between campuses, to the benefit of students who have more convenient access to desired courses and programs.

Articulations and Memorandums of Agreement

VCSU supports nearly thirty articulations and memorandums of agreement with other institutions in North Dakota and other states. These agreements provide students from other academic communities with easy transfer and interaction with VCSU's programs and human resources. Examples of the various types of agreements are described below:

Elementary Education at North Dakota State University (NDSU). For over 15 years, VCSU has provided the elementary education major for students on the NDSU campus. Students in the program double major in Elementary Education (from VCSU) and Child Development (from NDSU), and graduate with degrees from both institutions. VCSU faculty drive to NDSU each week to provide face-to-face courses; students receive laptops and complete the same program requirements as students on the VCSU campus. The program enrolls 70-100 students annually. Recently the Art Department at NDSU has discussed expanding the program to include a B.S. Ed. in Art Education.

Elementary Education at Wyoming Community Colleges. VCSU’s School of Education and Graduate Studies also supports agreements with seven Wyoming community colleges to provide the Elementary Education program via a combination of online, interactive video, and face-to-face coursework which allows Wyoming students to complete teacher education degrees while remaining in their home communities. Recently several secondary education programs options have been added.

3+1 / 2+2 Agreements. While VCSU has a number of articulation agreements with community colleges in the state, several stand out because of their responsiveness to constituents’ needs. The 3+1 Fisheries and Wildlife Science agreement with DCB provides for shared course delivery by faculty on both campuses (using IVN delivery from both campuses), including a third year on the DCB campus for students who begin their studies there. Students may study on either campus for years 1-3, receiving the same program at either campus, and then all students complete their fourth year on the VCSU campus. This provides increased access for students who would otherwise seek a program out of state, and allows for broader curricular offerings since course delivery is shared by both campuses.

A recent agreement developed with North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) offers a new approach to a traditional pathway for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students. Typically students completing vocational degrees at NDSCS have sought a four-year degree from VCSU if they wanted to teach in a high school or vocational school. However, NDSCS identified a real-world need for improved professional business knowledge for those students who plan to develop or maintain a small business or move to management positions, and asked VCSU to work with them to develop a non-teaching, four-year degree pathway for these students. The resulting management option in the CTE major provides the requisite training and access to a Bachelor of Science degree. The agreement is the first of its kind in North Dakota and is designed to help non-traditional students realize the benefit of three types of credentials: U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeship programs, Associate in Applied Science degrees, and Bachelor of Science degrees.

Access to College Entry and Two Year Programs. VCSU and DCB have collaborated on a series of programs to provide place-bound students in the Valley City area with access to educational offerings outside VCSU’s identified NDUS mission.
  • Students who are not eligible for admission at VCSU but want to attend college, pursue a four-year degree, and remain in the Valley City area may apply to the DCB Bridges program. This program allows students to complete 24 credits through DCB while remaining on the VCSU campus. They may then transfer to VCSU and complete a four-year degree. These DCB students are able to fully participate in the student life, housing and dining services, organizations, facility usage and activities (excluding varsity athletics) available to every degree-seeking VCSU student. This program also provides access to developmental courses for any VCSU students requiring additional support.
  • The Dakota Nursing Program allows students to remain on the VCSU campus while they complete a nursing program through DCB. VCSU provides the general education coursework, and DCB provides the classroom instruction in nursing via Interactive Video Network (IVN). Clinical practice opportunities for these students are available through local healthcare providers at the Sheyenne Care Center and Mercy Hospital.
  • A new collaboration implemented in Fall 2011 will offer residents in the Valley City area three, two-year programs and provide convenient training for entry-level jobs: Medical Assistant, Caregiver Services, and Paraeducation. The program follows the Dakota Nursing Program structure: students will remain on the VCSU campus and take courses from both VCSU and DCB (via IVN and online).

Evaluation of Core Component 5c

Strengths: Valley City State University responds to the needs of its constituents through collaboration and effective communication with other educational organizations. VCSU continues to engage its learners and constituents through improved accessibility and student-friendly policies and procedures that support a mobile society.

VCSU supports a variety of articulations and agreements with other institutions in North Dakota and other states. Some of these have developed into partnerships that serve our local community as well as distant and diverse communities in other states.

New Initiatives: The collaborative ventures with DCB, especially the access to two-year programs, are in early stages of development, and further development of pathways to four-year degrees from VCSU are under discussion.

Challenges: Maintenance of current agreements, so they continue to effectively support student and community needs, requires constant attention. The development of a stronger administrative structure to oversee the development, implementation, and assessment of collaborative activities would increase office and program efficiencies and improve the student experience.