Partnership is 'win-win' for BGSU, LCCC students

Mary Teleha, a 35-year-old mother of two from Lorain, earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from BGSU in May, nearly 10 years after taking a break in her education.

She is now pursuing a master’s degree at Bowling Green but, again due to its partnership program with Lorain County Community College, can serve her graduate assistantship closer to home, at LCCC.

The LCCC University Partnership provides such opportunities for students both as a distance-learning platform and as a mechanism to recruit them into BGSU’s graduate biology program.

Six students have graduated from Bowling Green through the University Partnership, which was formed in 1998. Three of them, including Teleha, are now enrolled in graduate studies at BGSU. Bowling Green first offered classes at LCCC in 2003, and more than 80 students have taken classes there through the program. Current enrollment is 36.

Through the partnership, faculty members from both institutions are able to identify students who excel and encourage them to enroll in the University’s master’s program in biology. They can also offer independent research opportunities for students, who are advised jointly by Bowling Green and LCCC faculty.

Dr. Adam Miller, a biology faculty member in LCCC’s Division of Science and Mathematics, taught Teleha’s first biology class and was her research advisor. He is continuing as one of her graduate advisors, along with Dr. Scott Rogers, chair of BGSU’s biology department, and BGSU biologist Dr. Ray Larsen.

Bowling Green’s Continuing and Extended Education provides the administrative support for the University Partnership, which was new when Teleha first considered it. She looked into other four-year institutions but chose the Bowling Green-LCCC program because it was the most convenient, affordable and practical.

“Academically, I benefited by having the opportunity to take courses from both LCCC and BGSU concurrently. This program has allowed me to complete my degree in less time than I had anticipated,” said Teleha, who took Bowling Green courses for six semesters.

While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, she was a tutor and a teaching assistant in the lab at LCCC. She received an outstanding achievement award from the biology department in 2005 and last year was honored with the Outstanding Student Award in the Division of Science and Mathematics. She now plans to work toward a Ph.D., teach college biology and continue in research.

“We feel the partnership is a win-win situation for all involved,” said Dr. R. Michael McKay, Ryan Professor of Biology at BGSU and academic liaison to the program. “Students from LCCC have the opportunity to earn an advanced degree in biology, and BGSU can participate in a program that has received acclaim as a distance-learning model.”

McKay and his BGSU biology colleague Dr. George Bullerjahn recently received a three-year, $356,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the development of marine biosensors to detect chemicals in seawater. A portion of the award will fund continued research opportunities for LCCC students as part of the partnership. One of the grant-funded graduate research assistantships has been offered to Mark Rozmarynowycz of Sheffield Lake, who participated in the program and received his bachelor’s degree in biology in August.

“In addition to facilitating research opportunities, we feel this (funding) may be an effective means of recruitment to our master of science program,” noted McKay. He added that “being aligned with LCCC in the University Partnership is an important step to help ensure that BGSU is well-positioned to succeed as the role of the traditional four-year university evolves.”

October 22, 2007